Approximately 90% of children with nephrotic syndrome have idiopathic nephrotic syndrome. Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome includes three histologic types: minimal change disease, mesangial proliferation and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. These diseases have similar clinical presentation but different prognosis. The aim of this review is to summarize the genetic knowledge related to idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, follow the progression of these diseases and to offer a survey of the gene expression pattern changes and their functional classification. Different types of RNA expression analysis methods, such as the northern-blot assay, the ribonuclease protection assay, the RNA in situ hibridization, the quantitative RT-PCR and the RNA expression microarray technology are discussed. Previous studies emphasize the importance of the following gene groups in the idopathic nephrotic syndrome: genes involved the DNA synthesis and repair, growth factors, extracellular matrix proteins, extracellular ligand receptors, extracellular signal transduction, metabolic and transport process and immune regulation are frequently disexpressed in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome. With the development and spread of the microarray technology these genes can be used as a compliment to the conventional diagnostic method.
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