Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis is induced by microRNA-193a and its downregulation of WT1

Nat Med. 2013 Apr;19(4):481-7. doi: 10.1038/nm.3142. Epub 2013 Mar 17.


Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a frequent and severe glomerular disease characterized by destabilization of podocyte foot processes. We report that transgenic expression of the microRNA miR-193a in mice rapidly induces FSGS with extensive podocyte foot process effacement. Mechanistically, miR-193a inhibits the expression of the Wilms' tumor protein (WT1), a transcription factor and master regulator of podocyte differentiation and homeostasis. Decreased expression levels of WT1 lead to downregulation of its target genes PODXL (podocalyxin) and NPHS1 (nephrin), as well as several other genes crucial for the architecture of podocytes, initiating a catastrophic collapse of the entire podocyte-stabilizing system. We found upregulation of miR-193a in isolated glomeruli from individuals with FSGS compared to normal kidneys or individuals with other glomerular diseases. Thus, upregulation of miR-193a provides a new pathogenic mechanism for FSGS and is a potential therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation / physiology
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / etiology*
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / genetics
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Podocytes / metabolism
  • WT1 Proteins / physiology*


  • MIRN193 microRNA, human
  • MIRN193 microRNA, mouse
  • MicroRNAs
  • WT1 Proteins
  • Doxycycline