Higher urine desmosine levels are associated with mortality in patients with acute lung injury

National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Clinical Trials Network

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47 Scopus citations


Desmosine is a stable breakdown product of elastin that can be reliably measured in urine samples. We tested the hypothesis that higher baseline urine desmosine would be associated with higher mortality in 579 of 861 patients included in the recent Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network trial of lower tidal volume ventilation (1). We also correlated urine desmosine levels with indexes of disease severity. Finally, we assessed whether urine desmosine was lower in patients who received lower tidal volumes. Desmosine was measured by radioimmunoassay in urine samples from days 0,1, and 3 of the study. The data were expressed as a ratio of urine desmosine to urine creatinine to control for renal dilution. The results how that higher baseline (day 0) urine desmosine-to-creatinine concentration was associated with a higher risk of death on adjusted analysis (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.02-1.82, P = 0.03). Urine desmosine increased in both entilator groups from day 0 to day 3, but the average rise was higher in the 12-ml/kg predicted body weight group ompared with the 6-ml/kg predicted body weight group (P = 0.053, repeated-measures model). In conclusion, patients with acute lung injury ventilated with lower tidal volumes have lower urine desmosine levels, a finding that may reflect reduced extracellular matrix breakdown. These results illustrate the value of evaluating urinary biolog-ical markers that may have prognostic and pathogenetic significance in acute lung injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L566-L571
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
StatePublished - 2006


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Stretch injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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