Nephrin mutations can cause childhood-onset steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Oct;19(10):1871-8. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008010059. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


Classically, infants with mutations in NPHS1, which encodes nephrin, present with nephrotic syndrome within the first 3 mo of life (congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish-type), and children with mutations in NPHS2, which encodes podocin, present later with steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome. Recently, however, NPHS2 mutations have been identified in children with congenital nephrotic syndrome. Whether NPHS1 mutations similarly account for some cases of childhood steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome is unknown. In this study, 160 patients who belonged to 142 unrelated families and presented with nephrotic syndrome at least 3 mo after birth were screened for NPHS1 variants once mutations in NPHS2 had been excluded. Compound heterozygous NPHS1 mutations were identified in one familial case and nine sporadic cases. Mutations included protein-truncating nonsense and frameshift mutations, as well as splice-site and missense variants. Mutations were classified as "severe" or "mild" using prediction algorithms and functional assays. Most missense variants trafficked normally to the plasma membrane and maintained the ability to form nephrin homodimers and to heterodimerize with NEPH1, suggesting retained function. The presence of at least one "mild" mutation in these patients likely explains the later onset and milder course of disease. These results broaden the spectrum of renal disease related to nephrin mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset*
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / genetics*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Membrane Proteins
  • nephrin