Objective To evaluate changes in protein leakage in the glomerular filtration barrier, and in the ability of the tubule to reabsorb proteins during and after acute urinary retention (AUR).
Patients and methods Glomerular and tubular function was investigated in 24 men during AUR (mean age 68 years, mean retention time 31 h and mean retention volume 1140 mL) who were then followed for 6 months by measuring the urinary excretion of glomerular and tubular proteins, and the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Retention was relieved by inserting a suprapubic catheter and the cause of retention treated one month later. No patient had a previous renal disease or diabetes.
Results During AUR, and after 1 and 6 months, albuminuria was detected in 100%, 92% and 54% of patients, and increased excretion of α1-microglobulin in 52%, 36% and 58%, of IgG in 79%, 58% and 40%, and of IgG4 in 67%, 42% and 20%, respectively. The mean GFR was normal during retention and during the follow-up.
Conclusion AUR causes disturbances in both the glomerular filtration and tubular reabsorption of proteins. Albuminuria and increased excretion of IgG, IgG4 and α1-microglobulin occurred in most patients during AUR. After relieving retention, the albuminuria and elevated α1-microglobulin excretion persisted, indicating slight glomerular dysfunction and a permanent defect in the proximal tubule to reabsorb proteins. This could be caused partly by previous chronic obstruction. AUR should be relieved immediately and the basic cause treated effectively to prevent further deterioration of renal function.