Recurrence of nephrotic syndrome following kidney transplantation is associated with initial native kidney biopsy findings

Jonathan H. Pelletier, Karan R. Kumar, Rachel Engen, Adam Bensimhon, Jennifer D. Varner, Michelle N Rheault, Tarak Srivastava, Caroline Straatmann, Cynthia Silva, T. Keefe Davis, Scott E. Wenderfer, Keisha Gibson, David Selewski, John Barcia, Patricia Weng, Christoph Licht, Natasha Jawa, Mahmoud Kallash, John W. Foreman, Delbert R. WigfallAnnabelle N. Chua, Eileen Chambers, Christoph P. Hornik, Eileen D. Brewer, Shashi K. Nagaraj, Larry A. Greenbaum, Rasheed A. Gbadegesin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and minimal change disease (MCD) is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in children. Recurrence of primary disease following transplantation is a major cause of allograft loss. The clinical determinants of disease recurrence are not completely known. Our objectives were to determine risk factors for recurrence of FSGS/MCD following kidney transplantation and factors that predict response to immunosuppression following recurrence. Methods: Multicenter study of pediatric patients with kidney transplants performed for ESKD due to SRNS between 1/2006 and 12/2015. Demographics, clinical course, and biopsy data were collected. Patients with primary-SRNS (PSRNS) were defined as those initially resistant to corticosteroid therapy at diagnosis, and patients with late-SRNS (LSRNS) as those initially responsive to steroids who subsequently developed steroid resistance. We performed logistic regression to determine risk factors associated with nephrotic syndrome (NS) recurrence. Results: We analyzed 158 patients; 64 (41%) had recurrence of NS in their renal allograft. Disease recurrence occurred in 78% of patients with LSRNS compared to 39% of those with PSRNS. Patients with MCD on initial native kidney biopsy had a 76% recurrence rate compared with a 40% recurrence rate in those with FSGS. Multivariable analysis showed that MCD histology (OR; 95% CI 5.6; 1.3–23.7) compared to FSGS predicted disease recurrence. Conclusions: Pediatric patients with MCD and LSRNS are at higher risk of disease recurrence following kidney transplantation. These findings may be useful for designing studies to test strategies for preventing recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1773-1780
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) 5R01DK098135 and 5R01DK094987 to RG. RG and JDV are recipients of the Doris Duke Clinical Research Mentorship grant award. JHP, KK, and AB are supported by the Duke Pediatric Research Scholar (DPRS) program.


  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Immunosuppression
  • Lipoid
  • Nephrosis
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Transplantation

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