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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2019 Jan 29. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfy413. [Epub ahead of print]

Podocytopathy in the mesangial proliferative immunoglobulin A nephropathy: new insights into the mechanisms of damage and progression.

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Nephrology Service, Hospital Británico de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Fondazione Ricerca Molinette, Regina Margherita Hospital, Turin, Italy.


Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) was defined as a mesangiopathic disease, since the primary site of deposition of IgA immune material is the mesangium, and proliferation of mesangial cells and matrix excess deposition are the first histopathologic lesions. However, the relentless silent progression of IgAN is mostly due to the development of persistent proteinuria, and recent studies indicate that a major role is played by previous damage of function and anatomy of podocytes. In IgAN, the podocytopathic changes are the consequence of initial alterations in the mesangial area with accumulation of IgA containing immune material. Podocytes are therefore affected by interactions of messages originally driven from the mesangium. After continuous insult, podocytes detach from the glomerular basement membrane. This podocytopathy favours not only the development of glomerular focal and segmental sclerosis, but also the progressive renal function loss. It is still debated whether these lesions can be prevented or cured by corticosteroid/immunosuppressive treatment. We aimed to review recent data on the mechanisms implicated in the podocytopathy present in IgAN, showing new molecular risk factors for progression of this disease. Moreover, these observations may indicate that the target for new drugs is not only focused on decreasing the activity of mesangial cells and inflammatory reactions in IgAN, but also on improving podocyte function and survival.


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