Management of Steroid-Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome in Children

Article Title: Management of Steroid-Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome in Children

Authors: Sanjana Sachdeva, Syeda Khan, Cristian Davalos, Chaithanya Avanthika, Sharan Jhaveri, Athira Babu, Daniel Patterson, Abdullah J. Yamani

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Nephrotic syndrome (NS) affects 115-169 children per 100,000, with rates varying by ethnicity and location. Immune dysregulation, systemic circulating substances, or hereditary structural abnormalities of the podocyte are considered to have a role in the etiology of idiopathic NS. Following daily therapy with corticosteroids, more than 85% of children and adolescents (often aged 1 to 12 years) with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome have full proteinuria remission. Patients with steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) do not demonstrate remission after four weeks of daily prednisolone therapy. The incidence of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome in children varies between 35 and 92 percent. A third of SRNS patients have mutations in one of the important podocyte genes. An unidentified circulating factor is most likely to blame for the remaining instances of SRNS.

The aim of this article is to explore and review the genetic factors and management of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome. An all language literature search was conducted on MEDLINE, COCHRANE, EMBASE, and Google Scholar till September 2021. The following search strings and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms were used: “Steroid resistance”, “nephrotic syndrome”, “nephrosis” and “hypoalbuminemia”. We comprehensively reviewed the literature on the epidemiology, genetics, current treatment protocols, and management of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome.

We found that for individuals with non-genetic SRNS, calcineurin inhibitors (cyclosporine and tacrolimus) constitute the current mainstay of treatment, with around 70% of patients achieving full or partial remission and an acceptable long-term prognosis. Patients with SRNS who do not react to calcineurin inhibitors or other immunosuppressive medications may have deterioration in kidney function and may develop end-stage renal failure. Nonspecific renal protective medicines, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin 2 receptor blockers, and anti-lipid medications, slow the course of the illness. Recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in the allograft affects around a third of individuals who get a kidney transplant, and it frequently responds to a combination of plasma exchange, rituximab, and increased immunosuppression. Despite the fact that these results show a considerable improvement in outcome, further multicenter controlled studies are required to determine the optimum drugs and regimens to be used.
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