Omics studies for comprehensive understanding of immunoglobulin A nephropathy: state-of-the-art and future directions

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2018 Dec 1;33(12):2101-2112. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfy130.


Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is the most common worldwide primary glomerulonephritis with a strong autoimmune component. The disease shows variability in both clinical phenotypes and endpoints and can be potentially subdivided into more homogeneous subtypes through the identification of specific molecular biomarkers. This review focuses on the role of omics in driving the identification of potential molecular subtypes of the disease through the integration of multilevel data from genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics and metabolomics. First, the identification of molecular biomarkers, including mapping of the full spectrum of common and rare IgAN risk alleles, could permit a more precise stratification of IgAN patients. Second, the analysis of transcriptomic patterns and their modulation by epigenetic factors like microRNAs has the potential to increase our understanding in the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease. Third, the specificity of urinary proteomic and metabolomic signatures and the understanding of their functional relevance may contribute to the development of new non-invasive biomarkers for a better molecular characterization of the renal damage and its follow-up. All these approaches can give information for targeted therapeutic decisions and will support novel clinical decision making. In conclusion, we offer a framework of omic studies and outline barriers and potential solutions that should be used for improving the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The ongoing decade is exploiting novel high-throughput molecular technologies and computational analyses for improving the diagnosis (precision nephrology) and treatment (personalized therapy) of the IgAN subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Epigenomics / methods*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / genetics
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / metabolism
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Transcriptome*


  • Biomarkers