Link Between Circulating Blood Factor And A Leading Cause Of Kidney Failure

Yearly, about 5,000 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. 

Patients with a disease that is a leading cause of kidney failure tend to have high levels of a particular factor circulating in their blood, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest that the factor could be used to monitor the disease's progression as well as patients' response to different therapies. It might also be a therapeutic target of future treatments for this difficult-to-treat disease. 

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), which is characterized by scarring of the kidneys, is a devastating disease in both children and adults. Most therapies are not effective, and patients often eventually need to undergo a kidney transplant. Research indicates that high blood levels of a factor called soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR) - which is overproduced in FSGS - plays a key role in the development of the disease. At high concentrations, suPAR binds to and damages kidney podocyte cells, leading to poor kidney filtration and protein excretion in the urine, eventually causing kidney failure.

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