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DOI: 10.1016/j.xkme.2020.05.014; PMCID: PMC7568086


Alport syndrome affects up to 60,000 people in the United States. The proposed reclassification of thin basement membrane nephropathy and some cases of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis as Alport syndrome could substantially increase the affected population. The reclassification scheme categorizes Alport syndrome as 3 distinct diseases of type IV collagen α3/4/5 based on a genetic evaluation: X-linked, autosomal, and digenic. This approach has the advantage of identifying patients at risk for progressive loss of kidney function. Furthermore, the shared molecular cause of Alport syndrome and thin basement membrane nephropathy arises from mutations in the COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5 genes, which contribute to downstream pathophysiologic consequences, including chronic kidney inflammation. Recent evidence indicates that chronic inflammation and its regulation through anti-inflammatory nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and proinflammatory nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) transcription factors plays a central role in renal tubular and glomerular cell responses to injury. Crosstalk between the Nrf2 and NF-κB pathways is important in the regulation of inflammation in patients with chronic kidney disease; moreover, there is evidence that an insufficient Nrf2 response to inflammation contributes to disease progression. Given the association between type IV collagen abnormalities and chronic inflammation, there is renewed interest in targeted anti-inflammatory therapies in Alport syndrome and other forms of progressive chronic kidney disease.

Journal Title

Kidney Med





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Alport syndrome; COL4A3; COL4A4; COL4A5; NF-κB; Nrf2; chronic inflammation; chronic kidney disease


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