The role of dendrin in IgA nephropathy

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2023 Feb 13;38(2):311-321. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfac208.


Background: Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) and its systemic variant IgA vasculitis (IgAV) damage the glomeruli, resulting in proteinuria, hematuria and kidney impairment. Dendrin is a podocyte-specific protein suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of IgAN. Upon cell injury, dendrin translocates from the slit diaphragm to the nucleus, where it is suggested to induce apoptosis and cytoskeletal changes, resulting in proteinuria and accelerated disease progression in mice. Here we investigated gene and protein expression of dendrin in relation to clinical and histopathological findings to further elucidate its role in IgAN/IgAV.

Methods: Glomerular gene expression was measured using microarray on 30 IgAN/IgAV patients, 5 patients with membranous nephropathy (MN) and 20 deceased kidney donors. Dendrin was spatially evaluated on kidney tissue sections by immunofluorescence (IF) staining (IgAN patients, n = 4; nephrectomized kidneys, n = 3) and semi-quantified by immunogold electron microscopy (IgAN/IgAV patients, n = 21; MN, n = 5; living kidney donors, n = 6). Histopathological grading was performed according to the Oxford and Banff classifications. Clinical data were collected at the time of biopsy and follow-up.

Results: Dendrin mRNA levels were higher (P = .01) in IgAN patients compared with MN patients and controls and most prominently in patients with preserved kidney function and fewer chronic histopathological changes. Whereas IF staining did not differ between groups, immunoelectron microscopy revealed that a higher relative nuclear dendrin concentration in IgAN patients was associated with a slower annual progression rate and milder histopathological changes.

Conclusion: Dendrin messenger RNA levels and relative nuclear protein concentrations are increased and associated with a more benign phenotype and progression in IgAN/IgAV patients.

Keywords: IgA nephropathy; chronic kidney disease; dendrin; immunoelectron microscopy; microarray.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA* / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous* / metabolism
  • IgA Vasculitis* / complications
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteinuria / etiology


  • dendrin
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins