Investigating integrin activation in nephrotic syndrome

Principal Investigator – Michael Randles

Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is a major cause of kidney disease in children. However, it is not a single disease, instead it is a collection of many diseases that have similar signs and symptoms. Not all patients will have the same physical changes in their kidneys, nor will they respond the same way to treatment. It is important to classify NS subtypes, so that clinicians can prescribe the best treatments for each patient. In all patients with NS cells in the kidney, called podocytes, change shape. The shape of cells is controlled by connections between the cell surface and the external environment, mediated through proteins called integrins. These proteins are important for many aspects of biology and many studies have shown the importance of integrins within the kidney. However, until now the amount and activity of integrins in patients with NS have not been investigated. We aim to analyse 40 kidney biopsies from children with NS to find out the level and activation of integrins. This will reveal whether integrin activation correlates with the subsets of NS and disease severity. Furthermore, this study will provide evidence for, or against, targeting integrins as new therapy for certain subsets of NS.