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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Dec;28(12):2993-3003. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gft350. Epub 2013 Sep 15.

Podocyte expression of nonmuscle myosin heavy chain-IIA decreases in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, especially in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.



Previous studies have identified significant associations between the development of idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and MYH9 encoding nonmuscle myosin heavy chain-IIA (NMMHC-IIA). However, these studies focused only on the linkage of MYH9 polymorphisms and development of FSGS. There have been no reports on pathological changes of NMMHC-IIA in human glomerular diseases. Here we report on the precise localization of NMMHC-IIA in podocytes and changes in NMMHC-IIA expression in pathological states in rats and humans.


Immunocytochemical (immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy) studies were performed to determine the precise localization of NMMHC-IIA. Expression levels of NMMHC-IIA were investigated in puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN)-treated rats; and expression levels of NMMHC-IIA and other podocyte-related proteins were investigated in glomeruli of patients with idiopathic FSGS and other heavy proteinuric glomerular diseases.


NMMHC-IIA was located primarily at the cell body and primary processes of podocytes; this localization is distinct from other podocyte-related molecules causing hereditary FSGS. In PAN-treated rat kidneys, expression levels of NMMHC-IIA in podocytes decreased. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that expression levels of NMMHC-IIA markedly decreased in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, especially FSGS, whereas it did not change in other chronic glomerulonephritis showing apparent proteinuria. Changes in NMMHC-IIA expression were observed in glomeruli where expression of nephrin and synaptopodin was maintained.


Considering previous genome-wide association studies and development of FSGS in patients with MYH9 mutations, the characteristic localization of NMMHC-IIA and the specific decrease in NMMHC-IIA expression in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, especially FSGS, suggest the important role of NMMHC-IIA in the development of FSGS.


focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; myh9; nonmuscle myosin heavy chain-IIA; podocyte; primary process

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