Circulating Permeability Factors in Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis: In Vitro Detection

Susan T. Veissi, Bart Smeets, Joanna A. E. van Wijk, René Classens, Thea J. A. M. van der Velden, Annelies Jeronimus-Klaasen, Floor Veltkamp, E. M. Mak – Nienhuis, William Morello, Giovanni Montini, Antonia H. M. Bouts, Lambertus P. W. J. van den Heuvel, Michiel F. Schreuder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: The recurrence of proteinuria after kidney transplantation in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is considered proof of the presence of circulating permeability factors (CPFs). The aim of this study is to demonstrate the presence of plasma CPFs using series of in vitro assays. Methods: Podocytes and endothelial cells (glomerular microvascular endothelial cells [GMVECs]) were incubated with plasma from FSGS patients with presumed CPFs in relapse and remission and from steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS), steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS), membranous nephropathy (MN), and healthy controls (hCtrls). Cell viability, podocyte actin cytoskeleton architecture, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation with or without ROS scavenger were investigated by Cell Counting Kit-8 assay, immunofluorescence staining, and CM-H2DCFDA probing, respectively. Results: Presumed CPF-containing plasma causes a series of events in podocytes but not in GMVECs. These events include actin cytoskeleton rearrangement and excessive formation of ROS, which results in podocyte loss. These effects were solely observed in response to CPF plasma collected during relapse, but not in response to plasma of hCtrls, or patients with SRNS, SSNS, and MN. The copresence of dimethylthiourea, a scavenger of ROS, abolished the aforementioned effects of CPF plasma. Conclusion: We provide a panel of in vitro bioassays to measure podocyte injury and predict the presence of CPFs in plasma of patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS), providing a new framework for monitoring CPF activity that may contribute to future NS diagnostics or used for disease monitoring purposes. Moreover, our findings suggest that the inhibition of ROS formation or facilitating rapid ROS scavenging may exert beneficial effects in patients with CPFs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2691-2703
Number of pages13
JournalKidney International Reports
Issue number12
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • actin cytoskeleton damage
  • circulating permeability factor
  • focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • nephrotic syndrome
  • podocytes
  • reactive oxygen species

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