Circulating blood factor linked with a leading cause of kidney failure

November 08, 2012

HighlightsYearly, about 5,000 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Washington, DC (November 8, 2012) -- Patients with a disease that is a leading cause of kidney failure tend to have high levels of a particular factor circulating in their blood, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest that the factor could be used to monitor the disease's progression as well as patients' response to different therapies. It might also be a therapeutic target of future treatments for this difficult-to-treat disease.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), which is characterized by scarring of the kidneys, is a devastating disease in both children and adults. Most therapies are not effective, and patients often eventually need to undergo a kidney transplant. Research indicates that high blood levels of a factor called soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR)--which is overproduced in FSGS--plays a key role in the development of the disease. At high concentrations, suPAR binds to and damages kidney podocyte cells, leading to poor kidney filtration and protein excretion in the urine, eventually causing kidney failure.

Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD (Rush University Medical Center) and his colleagues evaluated suPAR levels in the blood of 70 adult FSGS patients from North America, 94 pediatric FSGS patients from Europe, and 150 individuals without the disease. They also analyzed suPAR levels after patients were treated with various drugs.

Among the major findingsThe findings suggest that suPAR blood tests might be used to monitor patients' disease and their response to treatment. Also, "anti-suPAR therapies may help reduce the burden of FSGS," said Dr. Reiser. "Since FSGS can recur after kidney transplantation, suPAR removal may also have relevance in the treatment of post-transplant FSGS," he added.
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Study co-authors include Changli Wei, MD, PhD, Howard Trachtman, MD, Jing Li, Chuanhui Dong, PhD, Aaron L. Friedman, MD, Debbie S. Gipson, MD, Frederick Kaskel, MD, PhD, Dagmar-C. Fischer, MD, Jennifer J. Gassman, PhD, June L. McMahan, MD, Milena Radeva, Karsten M. Heil, MD, Agnes Trautmann, MD, Ali Anarat, MD, Sevinc Emre, MD, Gian M. Ghiggeri, MD, PhD, Fatih Ozaltin, MD, Dieter Haffner, MD, and Franz Schaefer, MD.

Disclosures: Changli Wei and Jochen Reiser have issued and/or pending patents on the mechanisms and therapeutics for proteinuric renal diseases. They stand to gain royalties from their future commercialization.

The article, entitled "Circulating suPAR in Two Cohorts of Primary FSGS," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on November 8, 2012, doi: 10.1681/2012030302.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 13,500 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

American Society of Nephrology

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