ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

learn more

Contact ASN

1401 H St, NW, Ste 900, Washington, DC 20005


The Latest on X

Kidney Week

Please note that you are viewing an archived section from 2023 and some content may be unavailable. To unlock all content for 2023, please visit the archives.

Abstract: TH-PO767

MHC Class I Molecules and Dendrin Are Upregulated in Primary FSGS Podocytes

Session Information

Category: Glomerular Diseases

  • 1403 Podocyte Biology


  • Deleersnijder, Dries, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
  • Bihary, Dora, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
  • Sprangers, Ben, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Genk, Limburg, Belgium
  • Meijers, Björn Ki, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
  • Lambrechts, Diether, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
  • Van Craenenbroeck, Amaryllis H., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium

The pathophysiology of primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is incompletely understood, and differentiation between FSGS subtypes remains challenging. We used single-cell transcriptomics to identify new pathways that are specifically deranged in primary FSGS podocytes.


We performed single-nucleus RNA-sequencing (10x Genomics Chromium) on cryopreserved kidney biopsy cores from patients with primary FSGS (n=9, all nephrotic), maladaptive FSGS (n=9, none nephrotic), proteinuric controls (PLA2R-positive membranous nephropathy, n=3), and healthy controls (pre-perfusion biopsies, n=4).


We identified 194,594 nuclei, of which 3,660 were podocytes expressing canonical marker genes (Figure 1A). Differential gene expression analysis between primary FSGS podocytes (n=1,635 nuclei) and all other podocytes (n=2,025 nuclei) showed significant upregulation of genes encoding major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I proteins (HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-E, B2M) and dendrin (DDN) (Figure 1B-C). Overexpression of MHC class I molecules has previously been observed in autoimmune diseases such as diabetes mellitus1. We hypothesize that presentation of self-antigens in primary FSGS podocytes via MHC class I proteins may either be an initiating event, triggering production of a pathogenic permeability factor, or alternatively an adaptive response to earlier podocyte injury. Dendrin, which interacts with slit diaphragm proteins, translocates to the nucleus in injured podocytes, triggering apoptosis in mouse models of FSGS2, thereby making it a promising new target in human primary FSGS.


MHC class I molecules and dendrin represent two novel differentially expressed pathways that could aid in further distinguishing different FSGS subtypes.

1: Russell, et al. Diabetes. 2019.
2: Empitu, et al. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2023.