Identification of genetic causes for sporadic steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome in adults

Kidney Int. 2018 Nov;94(5):1013-1022. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2018.07.024.


Monogenic forms of Steroid-Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome (SRNS) have been widely characterized, but genetic screening paradigms preferentially address congenital, infantile onset, and familial cases. Our aim was to characterize the distribution of disease-causing gene mutations in adults with sporadic SRNS or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We selected adult patients with non-syndromic, biopsy-proven FSGS or SRNS in the absence of known family history. Strict clinical criteria included lack of response to glucocorticoids and cyclosporine, and no recurrence after kidney transplantation. Mutations in SRNS genes were detected using a targeted gene panel. Sixteen of 135 tested participants (11.8%) carried pathogenic mutations in monogenic SRNS genes, and 14 others (10.4%) carried two APOL1 high-risk alleles. Autosomal recessive disease was diagnosed in 5 participants, autosomal dominant disease in 9, and X-linked disease in 2. Four participants carried a de novo heterozygous mutation. Among the 16 participants with identified mutations in monogenic SNRS genes, 7 (43.7%) had type IV collagen mutations. Mutations in monogenic SNRS genes were identified primarily in participants with proteinuria onset before 25 years of age, while the age at disease onset was variable in those with APOL1 high-risk genotype. Mean age at diagnosis was lower and renal survival was worse in participants with identified mutations in SNRS genes than in those without mutations. We found a significant rate of pathogenic mutations in adults with SRNS, with Type IV collagen mutations being the most frequent. These findings may have immediate impact on clinical practice.

Keywords: Alport syndrome; collagen; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; genetic; steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apolipoprotein L1 / genetics
  • Autoantigens / genetics
  • Collagen Type IV / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • APOL1 protein, human
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • Autoantigens
  • CD2-associated protein
  • Collagen Type IV
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Glucocorticoids
  • type IV collagen alpha3 chain