Inflammation in the kidney is a serious, common issue among adults and children in North America. Finding noninvasive ways to properly diagnose, monitor and treat the inflammation may be getting easier thanks to research by Robert J. Wyatt, MD, a Le Bonheur nephrologist and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). Wyatt is co-author of a Medical Progress report titled, “IgA Nephropathy” in the New England Journal of Medicine. His co-author is Bruce A. Julian, MD, in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
IgA nephropathy is the most prevalent primary chronic glomerular disease worldwide. Inside the kidney, the glomerulus is a network or tuft of capillaries that performs the first step in filtering blood and removing urine. IgA nephropathy is characterized by deposits of the IgA antibody in the glomerulus. Left unchecked, IgA nephropathy is a slow progression that leads to chronic renal failure in 25 to 30 percent of cases during a period of 20 years. In North America, about 75 percent of children and young adults with IgA nephropathy exhibit symptoms of macroscopic hematuria, which is visible blood in their urine, during an upper respiratory or gastrointestinal illness.
“Previously, the required method for diagnosing this disease was a painful and expensive kidney biopsy,” said Wyatt, who performed his research at UTHSC and the Children’s Foundation Research Institute at Le Bonheur. “Over the past decade, advances in analytic approaches have provided better insight into the molecular mechanism of this disease. These advances offer the potential for noninvasive tests for diagnosis and monitoring of disease activity, and an opportunity to envision disease-specific therapy.”
To access the full manuscript, visit: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1206793.