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      The Urinary Podocyte as a Marker for the Differential Diagnosis of Idiopathic Focal Glomerulosclerosis and Minimal-Change Nephrotic Syndrome

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          Background/Aims: Detection of podocytes in the urine sediment of children indicates that severe podocyte injury occurred in the glomerulus. Focal glomerulosclerosis (FGS) and minimal-change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) are kidney diseases characterized by massive proteinuria. The aim of the present study was to determine whether urinary podocytes can be detected in patients with idiopathic FGS or MCNS and whether immunosuppression therapy alters these cells. Methods: Twenty patients with MCNS (nephrotic stage, n = 12; remission stage, n = 8), 15 patients with FGS and 20 healthy controls were included in the present study. Urinary podocytes were stained by immunofluorescence. All patients with MCNS at the nephrotic stage received prednisolone for 6 months, and all patients with FGS received some form of immunosuppression therapy including prednisolone, cyclophosphamide or mizoribine for 12 months. Results: The 12 nephrotic-stage MCNS patients achieved remission after treatment. Seven of the 15 FGS patients also achieved remission, but the other 8 remained in the nephrotic stage. Urinary podocytes were not detected in any patient with MCNS nor were they detected in healthy controls. Urinary podocytes were detected in all FGS patients (mean, 4.2 cells/ml) before treatment and the number of cells decreased in the 7 patients who achieved remission. The number of podocytes was unchanged in the other 8 patients even after treatment. Conclusion: Urinary podocytes may be a useful diagnostic indicator for differentiation between FGS and MCNS. These cells may also mark disease progression in cases of FGS.

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          Effect of plasma protein adsorption on protein excretion in kidney-transplant recipients with recurrent nephrotic syndrome.

          Among patients with the idiopathic nephrotic syndrome who have focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis and undergo renal transplantation, 15 to 55 percent have recurrent nephrotic syndrome. The recurrence may be caused by a plasma factor or factors that increase glomerular permeability, because plasma exchange transiently decreases or abolishes proteinuria in some patients. We studied the effect on proteinuria of the removal of protein (mostly immunoglobulins) by adsorption onto protein A from the plasma of patients with recurrent nephrotic syndrome. Eight patients were treated with one to three cycles of two to seven 1-day sessions of protein adsorption, and the patients' urinary protein excretion was measured repeatedly. Their immunosuppressive regimens were not changed during the treatment. The adsorbed proteins were eluted from the protein A and injected into rats, and the urinary albumin excretion of the rats was measured. The protein-adsorption treatment consistently decreased urinary protein excretion by an average of 82 percent at the end of a cycle (P < 0.001). In one patient proteinuria disappeared, and in another urinary protein excretion remained below 2.5 g per day with repeated cycles of protein adsorption. In all but one patient the effect of adsorption was limited in time, with a return to the preadsorption level of protein excretion within a maximum of two months. The administration to rats of material eluted from the protein A increased urinary albumin excretion 2.9- to 4.6-fold (P < 0.001 and P = 0.005, respectively). Although protein A primarily binds immunoglobulins, the active fraction of the eluted proteins had a molecular weight below 100,000, indicating that immunoglobulin was not directly involved. Adsorption of plasma protein decreases urinary protein excretion in patients with recurrence of the nephrotic syndrome after renal transplantation. Studies of the adsorbed proteins should provide information about the mechanism of this disease.
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            Urinary Excretion of Podocytes Reflects Disease Activity in Children with Glomerulonephritis

            The significance of the presence of podocytes in the urine was studied in various renal diseases in children. The podocytes were detected by immunofluorescence using monoclonal antibodies against the podocalyxin that is present on the surface of podocytes which serves as a glycocalyx. They were scored according to the numbers per partitioned area on cytospun urine sediments. Urine podocytes were absent in normal control, nonglomerular diseases such as urinary tract infection and nonglomerular hematuria, and glomerular, noninflammatory diseases such as minimal change nephrotic syndrome and membranous nephropathy. Conversely, the excretion of podocytes in the urine were detected in various glomerular, inflammatory diseases. A significantly higher level of the podocyte score was found in the acute state of glomerular diseases which was defined as within 6 months after disease onset. Positive correlations were obtained between the presence of urinary podocytes and the histological features of active extracapillary changes and mesangial proliferation. Urinary podocytes were examined monthly for 12 months in 7 cases with IgA nephropathy and 2 cases with Henoch-Schönlein purpura nephritis, and a consistently higher urinary podocyte score was observed in the patients with histological progression. The scoring of urinary podocytes was found to be useful clinically, as a diagnostic tool for glomerular or nonglomerular diseases, inflammatory or noninflammatory diseases, a marker for the estimation of the severity of active glomerular injury and also as a predictor of disease progression.

              Author and article information

              Am J Nephrol
              American Journal of Nephrology
              S. Karger AG
              June 2000
              30 June 2000
              : 20
              : 3
              : 175-179
              aDepartment of Medicine, Misato Junshin Hospital, Saitama, bDepartment of Pediatrics, Yoshida Hospital, Niigata, and cDepartment of Medicine, Koto Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
              13580 Am J Nephrol 2000;20:175–179
              © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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              Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 20, Pages: 5
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