Background: Posttransplant recurrence of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) occurs in a relevant proportion of FSGS patients and represents an important clinical emergency. It is taken as a proof of the existence of circulating permeability plasma factor(s) that are also putative effectors of original proteinuria in these patients. Familial forms of FSGS do not recur, but the discovery of numerous patients with sporadic FSGS and mutations of podocin (NPHS2, that is actually an inherited disease) who received a renal graft require a re-evaluation of the problem.
Methods: To evaluate the incidence of posttransplant recurrence of FSGS in patients with NPHS2, the authors screened for podocin mutations in 53 patients with the clinical and pathologic stigmata of FSGS who had renal failure and who had undergone renal transplantation.Results. Twelve children were found to carry a homozygous (n9) or a heterozygous (n4) mutation of podocin and were classified, according to current criteria, as patients with inherited FSGS. In 5 patients of this group (38%), proteinuria recurred after renal graft and in 2, renal biopsy results showed recurrence of FSGS. Prerecurrence serum of 3 patients of this cohort was tested for antipodocin antibodies with indirect immuno-Western utilizing human podocyte extracts and were found negative. The rate of FSGS recurrence was comparable in non-NPHS2-FSGS children (12 of 27) and adults (3 of 13). Also clinical outcome of recurrence and response to plasmapheresis and immunosuppressors were comparable, suggesting a common mechanism.
Conclusion: These data show a high rate of FSGS recurrence in patients with NPHS2 mutations that is comparable with idiopathic FSGS and describe the successful therapeutic approach. Recurrence of an apparently inherited disease should stimulate a critical review of the mechanisms of recurrence and of original proteinuria in these cases.