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      Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis: State-of-the-Art and Clinical Perspective

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      S. Karger AG

      Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Diagnosis, Treatment

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          Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a histological pattern of glomerular injury, rather than a single disease, that is caused by diverse clinicopathological entities with different mechanisms of injury with the podocyte as the principal target of lesion, leading to the characteristic sclerotic lesions in parts (i.e., focal) of some (i.e., segmental) glomeruli. The lesion of FSGS has shown an increasing prevalence over the past few decades and is considered the most common glomerular cause leading to ESKD. Primary FSGS, which usually presents with nephrotic syndrome, is thought to be caused by circulating permeability factors that have a main role in podocyte foot process effacement. Secondary forms of FSGS include maladaptive FSGS secondary to glomerular hyperfiltration such as in obesity or in cases of loss in nephron mass, virus-associated FSGS, and drug-associated FSGS that can result in direct podocyte injury. Genetic FSGS is increasingly been recognized and a careful evaluation of patients with atypical primary or secondary FSGS should be performed to exclude genetic causes. Unlike primary FSGS, secondary and genetic forms of FSGS do not respond to immunosuppression and tend not to recur after kidney transplantation. Distinguishing primary FSGS from secondary and genetic causes has a prognostic significance and is crucial for an appropriate management. In this review, we examine the pathogenesis, clinical approach to distinguish between the different causes, and current recommendations in the management of FSGS.

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          Differentiating Primary, Genetic, and Secondary FSGS in Adults: A Clinicopathologic Approach

          FSGS describes a renal histologic lesion with diverse causes and pathogenicities that are linked by podocyte injury and depletion. Subclasses of FSGS include primary, genetic, and secondary forms, the latter comprising maladaptive, viral, and drug-induced FSGS. Despite sharing certain clinical and histologic features, these subclasses differ noticeably in management and prognosis. Without an accepted nongenetic biomarker that discriminates among these FSGS types, classification of patients is often challenging. This review summarizes the clinical and histologic features, including the onset and severity of proteinuria as well as the presence of nephrotic syndrome, that may aid in identifying the specific FSGS subtype. The FSGS lesion is characterized by segmental sclerosis and must be differentiated from nonspecific focal global glomerulosclerosis. No light microscopic features are pathognomonic for a particular FSGS subcategory. The characteristics of podocyte foot process effacement on electron microscopy, while helpful in discriminating between primary and maladaptive FSGS, may be of little utility in detecting genetic forms of FSGS. When FSGS cannot be classified by clinicopathologic assessment, genetic analysis should be offered. Next generation DNA sequencing enables cost-effective screening of multiple genes simultaneously, but determining the pathogenicity of a detected genetic variant may be challenging. A more systematic evaluation of patients, as suggested herein, will likely improve therapeutic outcomes and the design of future trials in FSGS.
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            Circulating Permeability Factors in Primary Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis: A Review of Proposed Candidates

            Primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a major cause of the nephrotic syndrome and often leads to end-stage renal disease. This review focuses on circulating permeability factors in primary FSGS that have been implicated in the pathogenesis for a long time, partly due to the potential recurrence in renal allografts within hours after transplantation. Recently, three molecules have been proposed as a potential permeability factor by different groups: the soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), cardiotrophin-like cytokine factor-1 (CLCF-1), and CD40 antibodies. Both CLCF-1 and CD40 antibodies have not been validated by independent research groups yet. Since the identification of suPAR, different studies have questioned the validity of suPAR as a biomarker to distinguish primary FSGS from other proteinuric kidney diseases as well as suPAR's pathogenic role in podocyte damage. Researchers have suggested that cleaved molecules of suPAR have a pathogenic role in FSGS but further studies are needed to determine this role. In future studies, proposed standards for the research of the permeability factor should be carefully followed. The identification of the permeability factor in primary FSGS would be of great clinical relevance as it could influence potential individual treatment regimen.
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              Treatment and outcome of adult patients with primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in five UK renal units.

              Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the least studied of the causes of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, and there are few specific guidelines for treatment. To review data from five UK renal units to investigate whether adult patients with FSGS were treated uniformly, and to examine the effect of treatment on proteinuria and survival. Retrospective record review. We examined electronic records of patients with idiopathic FSGS for information on baseline clinical parameters, treatment regimens and outcomes. Of 136 patients with primary FSGS and nephrotic range proteinuria, 76 (56%) were treated with prednisolone and of this group, 59% were treated with additional immunosuppression. Among the treated patients, the total remission rate (complete and partial) was 67%, and one hospital achieved a remission rate of 80%. Treated patients had a significantly higher remission rate than those who were not treated. Remission was associated with a 5-year survival off dialysis of 94%, compared with 53% if remission was not achieved. Baseline serum creatinine and remission were independently associated with survival off dialysis in a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model. Patients with primary FSGS and nephrotic range proteinuria, who are treated with corticosteroids, are more likely to enter remission than those who are not treated. Remission rates of up to 80% can be achieved with prolonged treatment, and remission is an independent predictor of survival off dialysis. Patients who do not achieve remission have a poor prognosis. Further clarification of optimal treatment regimens requires additional, prospective studies.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                September 2020
                28 July 2020
                : 144
                : 9
                : 413-427
                Nephrology Department, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, Madrid, Spain
                Author notes
                *Dr. Gema Fernández-Juárez, Nephrology Department, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, C/ Budapest, 1, ES–28922 Alcorcón (Spain), GMFernandez@fhalcorcon.es
                508099 Nephron 2020;144:413–427
                © 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, Pages: 15
                Clinical Practice: Review Article

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Diagnosis, Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Treatment


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