Background: Mutations in the NPHS2 gene, encoding podocin, and in the ACTN4 gene, encoding α-actinin-4, have been identified in familial childhood-onset forms of focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). NPHS2 may be also responsible for some sporadic cases. The role of NPHS2 and ACTN4 in the adult sporadic form of the disease is being clarifying. Methods: Thirty-three adult subjects affected by sporadic FSGS were studied at molecular level. At biopsy, 12 patients had nephrotic syndrome, 5 patients had isolated proteinuria and 16 patients showed proteinuria and hematuria. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was in the normal range in 19 subjects and 14 patients had a variable degree of renal failure. Multiplex families presenting with a clear familial inheritance for proteinuria or other congenital nephrotic syndrome were excluded. The whole coding region, all intron/exon boundaries and flanking intronic regions of NPHS2 gene and the exon 8, i.e. hot-spot mutations of the ACTN4 gene, were analyzed in all patients by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) to search disease-causing defects. Results: The analysis identified four already described and two new polymorphisms, IVS3-21C>T and IVS3-46C>T, on the NPHS2 gene. Moreover, the R229Q allele was identified in 3/33 patients and in 7/124 controls, accounting for an allelic frequency of 0.045 and 0.028, respectively. The new intronic polymorphism IVS7-54C>T was also found in the exon 8 of the ACTN4 gene. Conclusions: In this study, we exhaustively analyzed the NPHS2 and the exon 8 of the ACTN4 genes in a series of sporadic 'adult-onset' FSGS patients. No causative mutations were found while the R229Q allele was identified in 3 patients confirming its possible role as a 'disease-associated NPHS2 allele' although its pathogenetic involvement needs to be further clarified. Moreover, the description of new intronic polymorphisms in both genes is reported.
- Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
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