Rituximab targets podocytes in recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a glomerular disease characterized by proteinuria, progression to end-stage renal disease, and recurrence of proteinuria after kidney transplantation in about one-third of patients. It has been suggested that rituximab might treat recurrent FSGS through an unknown mechanism. Rituximab not only recognizes CD20 on B lymphocytes, but might also bind sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase acid-like 3b (SMPDL-3b) protein and regulate acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase) activity. We hypothesized that rituximab prevents recurrent FSGS and preserves podocyte SMPDL-3b expression. We studied 41 patients at high risk for recurrent FSGS, 27 of whom were treated with rituximab at time of kidney transplant. SMPDL-3b protein, ASMase activity, and cytoskeleton remodeling were studied in cultured normal human podocytes that had been exposed to patient sera with or without rituximab. Rituximab treatment was associated with lower incidence of posttransplant proteinuria and stabilization of glomerular filtration rate. The number of SMPDL-3b(+) podocytes in postreperfusion biopsies was reduced in patients who developed recurrent FSGS. Rituximab partially prevented SMPDL-3b and ASMase down-regulation that was observed in podocytes treated with the sera of patients with recurrent FSGS. Overexpression of SMPDL-3b or treatment with rituximab was able to prevent disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and podocyte apoptosis induced by patient sera. This effect was diminished in cultured podocytes where SMPDL-3b was silenced. Our study suggests that treatment of high-risk patients with rituximab at time of kidney transplant might prevent recurrent FSGS by modulating podocyte function in an SMPDL-3b-dependent manner.
AuthorsAlessia Fornoni, Junichiro Sageshima, Changli Wei, Sandra Merscher-Gomez, Robier Aguillon-Prada, Alexandra N Jauregui, Jing Li, Adela Mattiazzi, Gaetano Ciancio, Linda Chen, Gaston Zilleruelo, Carolyn Abitbol, Jayanthi Chandar, Wacheree Seeherunvong, Camillo Ricordi, Masami Ikehata, Maria Pia Rastaldi, Jochen Reiser, George W Burke 3rd
JournalScience translational medicine (Sci Transl Med) Vol. 3 Issue 85 Pg. 85ra46 (Jun 1 2011) ISSN: 1946-6242 [Electronic] United States
PMID21632984 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Rituximab
  • SMPDL3B protein, human
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived (pharmacology, therapeutic use)
  • Antigens, CD20 (metabolism)
  • Apoptosis (drug effects)
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental (drug therapy, metabolism)
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors (pharmacology, therapeutic use)
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Male
  • Podocytes (cytology, drug effects, metabolism)
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rituximab
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase (metabolism)

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