The intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (iRAS) is implicated in the pathogenesis of hypertension, chronic kidney disease and diabetic nephropathy. Urinary angiotensinogen (uAGT) levels reflect the activity of the iRAS and are altered in women with preeclampsia. Since Indigenous Australians suffer high rates and early onset of renal disease, we hypothesised that Indigenous Australian pregnant women, like non-Indigenous women with pregnancy complications, would have altered uAGT levels. The excretion of RAS proteins was measured in non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australian women with uncomplicated or complicated pregnancies (preeclampsia, diabetes/gestational diabetes, proteinuria/albuminuria, hypertension, small/large for gestational age, preterm birth), and in non-pregnant non-Indigenous women. Non-Indigenous pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies, had higher uAGT/creatinine levels than non-Indigenous non-pregnant women (P < 0.01), and levels increased as pregnancy progressed (P < 0.001). In non-Indigenous pregnant women with pregnancy complications, uAGT/creatinine was suppressed in the third trimester (P < 0.01). In Indigenous pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies, there was no change in uAGT/creatinine with gestational age and uAGT/creatinine was lower in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters than in non-Indigenous pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies (P < 0.03, P < 0.007, respectively). The uAGT/creatinine ratios of Indigenous women with uncomplicated or complicated pregnancies were the same. A decrease in uAGT/creatinine with advancing gestational age was associated with increased urinary albumin/creatinine, as is seen in preeclampsia, but it was not specific for this disorder. The reduced uAGT/creatinine in Indigenous pregnant women may reflect subclinical renal dysfunction which limits the ability of the kidney to maintain sodium balance and could indicate an increased risk of pregnancy complications and/or future renal disease.
- Renin-angiotensin system