Nephrin test for kidney damage

Learn about the nephrin test, which is a urine (pee) test that may be able to find kidney damage early. There is currently ongoing research on testing nephrin as a future test for detecting kidney damage.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
February 12, 2024

What is the nephrin test?

Nephrin is a protein found in special cells in the kidneys, called podocytes. Podocytes help your kidneys filter your blood.

A nephrin test looks for nephrin in your urine (pee). When nephrin is in your urine, it may mean the podocytes in your kidneys have been damaged and aren't helping filter your blood as they should. 

What have recent studies learned about nephrin?

Recent studies have learned that finding nephrin in the urine could be a good way to find kidney damage early. A nephrin test may be able to find kidney damage earlier than urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) tests. UACR tests are how doctors currently find out if you have protein in your urine.  

In studies, researchers found that the amount of nephrin in urine went up as kidney disease progressed. This means it may be a good way to track if kidney damage is getting worse.

Researchers are working on making sure this test is accurate and reliable before it is used widely in doctor's offices.