Genetic Spectrum of Nephrotic Syndrome: Impact of Podocytopathy in Adult Life

      A substantial number of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) have a pathogenic genetic mutation in a podocyte protein as the cause of their disease. The mutations can affect a wide range of cell functions including the actin cytoskeleton, cell adhesion and motility, mitochondrial function, and nuclear pore proteins. The likelihood of a genetic cause declines with age, from approximately 30% in children and adolescents to 10% in adulthood, and the specific proteins involved and the pattern of inheritance differ in the 2 age groups. The presence of a genetic cause for FSGS can have important clinical ramifications including the need for a diagnostic kidney biopsy, medical management, and the risk of recurrent disease after kidney transplantation. This review summarizes the spectrum of genetic causes of nephrotic syndrome, primarily FSGS, in adults with a focus on diagnosis, presentation, and management.

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