Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(13):2964-2970. doi:10.7150/ijms.60111 This issue

Research Paper

Lower serum bilirubin is associated with poor renal outcome in IgA nephropathy patients

Zheng Jiang1, Jiaxing Tan1, Siqing Wang1, Lingqiu Dong1, Xin Han1, Yi Tang2, Wei Qin2✉

1. West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University
2. Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, West China Hospital of Sichuan University

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Jiang Z, Tan J, Wang S, Dong L, Han X, Tang Y, Qin W. Lower serum bilirubin is associated with poor renal outcome in IgA nephropathy patients. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(13):2964-2970. doi:10.7150/ijms.60111. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Aims: IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is the most prevalent primary glomerulonephritis worldwide. We conducted this study to explore the relationship between serum bilirubin and renal outcome of patients with IgAN.

Methods: A total of 1492 biopsy proven IgAN patients were recruited and divided into two groups according to their median serum bilirubin concentration: the low bilirubin group (serum bilirubin≤9.7umol/L, n=753) and high bilirubin group (serum bilirubin>9.7umol/L, n=739). Basic clinical characteristics were assessed at the time of renal biopsy and the relationships between serum bilirubin and the combined endpoints were analyzed. The combined endpoints were defined as a 50% decline in estimate glomerular filtration rate (e-GFR), end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), renal transplantation and/or death. In addition, propensity score matching (PSM) was then performed to improve balance and simulate randomization between patients in different groups. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was applied to explore the role of serum bilirubin in the progression of IgAN. Three clinicopathological models of multivariate Cox regression analysis were established to evaluate the association of serum bilirubin and renal prognosis of IgAN.

Results: During median 5-year follow-up period, significant differences were shown in Kaplan-Meier analysis. In the unmatched group, 189 (12.7%) patients progressed to the renal combined endpoints.

Among this, 122 in 753 patients (16.2%) were in low bilirubin group and 67 in 739 patients (9.1%) were in high bilirubin group (p<0.001). After PSM, there were 134 (11.8%) patients reached the combined endpoints, which included 77 in 566 patients (14.6%) in low bilirubin group and 57 in 566 patients (10.1%) in high bilirubin group (p=0.039). The results of three models (including demographics, pathological, clinical indicators and serum bilirubin) demonstrated that a lower basic serum bilirubin level was significantly associated with a higher risk of reaching combined endpoints in IgAN patients both in unmatched and matched cohort.

Conclusion: Serum bilirubin level may be negatively associated with the progression of IgAN.

Keywords: end-stage kidney disease, IgA nephropathy, serum bilirubin, propensity score matching.