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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of lipids in nephrosclerosis and glomerulosclerosis.

Hyperlipidemia and lipoprotein abnormalities are often encountered in patients with nephrotic syndrome or chronic renal disease and also in those undergoing haemodialysis and with renal transplant. Even though the significance of lipid deposition in renal tissue and the role of lipoproteins in the pathogenesis of renal disease in man is unclear, experimental and clinical data indicate a possible damaging effect of a disturbed lipid metabolism on the kidney. In humans, glomerular lipid deposition is observed in genetic diseases such as Fabry's disease, lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase activity (LCAT) deficiency and arteriohepatic dysplasia, and in diseases with acquired disturbance of lipid metabolism such as nephrotic syndrome and cholestatic liver disease. Studies on animals with lupus nephritis, aminonucleoside nephrosis, reduced renal mass, diabetes mellitus or systemic hypertension have shown that cholesterol can increase the incidence of glomerulosclerosis. As most of these studies have been performed in the rat, which has a different lipoprotein profile to that of man, these results should be carefully interpreted with regard to their relevance for humans. In vitro cell culture studies on human glomerular cells have given some preliminary insights into the cellular mechanisms of lipid induced glomerular damage. Apo E-containing lipoproteins, which are pathologically elevated in many renal diseases, are avidly taken up by human mesangial cells. These cells seem to play a central role in the initiation of glomerulosclerosis by inducing proliferation and production of excess extracellular matrix. Lipoproteins are able to stimulate DNA synthesis in these cells, and increase the synthesis of mitogens and extracellular matrix protein. The pathogenic role of oxidized lipoproteins has not yet been defined. Human mesangial cells do not seem to take up these modified lipoproteins. However, macrophages infiltrate glomeruli and may constitute the stimulus for the generation of minimally modified lipoproteins and their cellular uptake. The data from animal experiments suggest that treatment that corrects hyperlipidemia may have an ameliorative effect on renal function. Thus, there are strong indications that lipoproteins may play a critical role in mediating the development of glomerulosclerosis.[1]


  1. The role of lipids in nephrosclerosis and glomerulosclerosis. Gröne, E.F., Walli, A.K., Gröne, H.J., Miller, B., Seidel, D. Atherosclerosis (1994) [Pubmed]
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