A reduced nephron number may play a role in the pathogenesis of arterial hypertension (AH), and it is well recognized that individual nephron endowment is widely variable. However, nephrons count is technically impossible in vivo. Based on the observation that subjects with a reduced nephron mass exhibit an increase in renal functional biomarkers during acute dehydration, we hypothesized that cystatin C concentration during neonatal physiological dehydration could identify subjects with reduced nephron endowment. This is a prospective, observational, cohort study enrolling healthy, caucasian, term neonates born after an uneventful pregnancy. Two groups of newborns were compared: neonates born to fathers on antihypertensive treatment (HF) versus those born to proven normotensive fathers older than 40 years of age (NF). Enrolled newborns underwent cystatin C determination at the time of newborn screening. Forty newborns with HF and 80 with NF were enrolled. No differences in baseline characteristics were observed between the two groups except for the number of hypertensive grandparents higher among newborns to HF (47.8% vs. 21.1%; p: 0.001). Cystatin C was significantly higher in newborns with HF (1.62 ± 0.30 mg/L vs 1.41 ± 0.27 mg/L; p < 0.001). Linear regression analysis corrected for confounders confirmed that paternal hypertension was the only variable significantly associated with high cystatin C level during post-natal dehydration. Besides offering new insights on the pathogenesis of familial hypertension, our results support the specific role of nephron endowment and suggest the possibility of identifying subjects at risk for reduced nephron endowment as early as at birth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine