Novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques reveal changed metabolic profiles in recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
Idiopathic forms of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are caused by circulating permeability factors, which can lead to early recurrence of FSGS and kidney failure after kidney transplantation. In the past three decades, many research endeavors were undertaken to identify these unknown factors. Even though some potential candidates have been recently discussed in the literature, ""the"" actual factor remains elusive. Therefore, there is an increased demand in FSGS research for the use of novel technologies that allow us to study FSGS from a yet unexplored angle. Here, we report the successful treatment of recurrent FSGS in a patient after living-related kidney transplantation by removal of circulating factors with CytoSorb apheresis. Interestingly, the classical published circulating factors were all in normal range in this patient but early disease recurrence in the transplant kidney and immediate response to CytoSorb apheresis were still suggestive for pathogenic circulating factors. To proof the functional effects of the patient's serum on podocytes and the glomerular filtration barrier we used a podocyte cell culture model and a proteinuria model in zebrafish to detect pathogenic effects on the podocytes actin cytoskeleton inducing a functional phenotype and podocyte effacement. We then performed Raman spectroscopy in the < 50 kDa serum fraction, on cultured podocytes treated with the FSGS serum and in kidney biopsies of the same patient at the time of transplantation and at the time of disease recurrence. The analysis revealed changes in podocyte metabolome induced by the FSGS serum as well as in focal glomerular and parietal epithelial cell regions in the FSGS biopsy. Several altered Raman spectra were identified in the fractionated serum and metabolome analysis by mass spectrometry detected lipid profiles in the FSGS serum, which were supported by disturbances in the Raman spectra. Our novel innovative analysis reveals changed lipid metabolome profiles associated with idiopathic FSGS that might reflect a new subtype of the disease.