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Transplantation. 2019 Jan;103(1):202-209. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002320.

ACTH Gel in Resistant Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis After Kidney Transplantation.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Transplant Epidemiology Research Collaboration (TERC), Institute of Public Health, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
South Texas Kidney Specialists, McAllen, TX.
Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Medicine, Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Medicine, Rush University, Chicago, IL.



Treatment of focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS) after kidney transplantation is challenging with unpredictable outcomes. The objective was to investigate the use of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) analogue gel in kidney transplant recipients with de novo or recurrent FSGS resistant to therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) and/or rituximab.


We performed a retrospective review of cases of de novo or recurrent resistant FSGS at 2 large US transplant centers between April 2012 and December 2016. Proteinuria was measured by urine protein to creatinine ratio.


We identified 20 cases of posttransplant recurrent and de novo FSGS resistant to conventional therapy with TPE and rituximab. Mean ± SD age was 49 ± 15.5 years, 14 (70%) were male, 13 (65%) were whites, and 8 (38%) had previous kidney transplants. Median (interquartile range) of recurrent and de novo FSGS was 3 (0.75-7.5) months posttransplant. The majority of patients, 15 (75%), received TPE as a treatment at the time of diagnosis and 10 (50%) received rituximab, which was started before the use of ACTH gel. There was a significant improvement of urine protein to creatinine ratio from a mean ± SD of 8.6 ± 7.6 g/g before ACTH gel to 3.3 ± 2.3 g/g after the use of ACTH gel (P = 0.004). Ten (50%) patients achieved complete or partial remission.


Although, the response varied among the recipients, ACTH gel might be an effective therapy for posttransplant resistant FSGS cases that fail to respond to TPE and rituximab.

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