Background: Nephrotic syndrome is one of the most commonly diagnosed kidney diseases in childhood and its progressive forms can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and/or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). There have been few longitudinal studies among a multi-ethnic cohort to determine potential risk factors influencing disease susceptibility, treatment response, and progression of nephrotic syndrome. Temporal relationships cannot be studied through cross-sectional study design. Understanding the interaction between various factors is critical to developing new strategies for treating children with kidney disease. We present the rationale and the study design of a longitudinal cohort study of children with nephrotic syndrome, the Insight into Nephrotic Syndrome: Investigating Genes, Health and Therapeutics (INSIGHT) study. The specific aims are to determine: 1) socio-demographic, environmental, and genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility; 2) rates of steroid treatment resistance and steroid treatment dependence, and identify factors that may modify treatment response; 3) clinical and genetic factors that influence disease susceptibility and progression to CKD and ESRD; and 4) the interaction between the course of illness and socio-demographic, environmental, and clinical risk factors.
Methods/design: INSIGHT is a disease-based observational longitudinal cohort study of children with nephrotic syndrome. At baseline, participants complete questionnaires and provide biological specimen samples (blood, urine, and toenail clippings). Follow-up questionnaires and repeat biological specimen collections are performed annually for up to five years.
Discussion: The proposed cohort will provide the structure to test various risk factors predicting or influencing disease susceptibility, treatment response, and progression to CKD among children with nephrotic syndrome.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01605266.