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Early Markers of Sickle Nephropathy in Children With Sickle Cell Anemia Are Associated With Red Cell Cation Transport Activity.

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Brewin, John 
Tewari, Sanjay 
Hannemann, Anke 
Al Balushi, Halima 
Sharpe, Claire 


The early stages of sickle cell nephropathy (SCN) manifest in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) as hyperfiltration and proteinuria. The physiological conditions of the renovascular system are among the most conducive to hemoglobin S polymerization in the body and will magnify small changes in red cell volume thus crucially modulating intracellular concentrations of hemoglobin S. This large cross-sectional study of children with sickle cell anemia measured glomerular filtration rates and microalbuminuria to report prevalence, clinical correlates and uniquely, association with key red cell cation transport mechanisms. One hundred and twelve patients (mean age 10.7 ± 4.1) were recruited. The prevalence of hyperfiltration and microalbuminuria was 98% and 15.1%, respectively. Glomerular filtration rates did not vary with age, but proteinuria became more prevalent with increasing age. Both features associated with markers of hemolysis, while elevated hemoglobin F was protective, but no association was seen with systolic or diastolic blood pressure. In multivariate analysis, both Gardos channel (β = 0.476, P < 0.001) and KCl co-transporter (KCC; β = -0.216, P = 0.009) activity, alongside age (β = 0.237, P = 0.004), remained independently predictive for microalbuminuria. Increased activity of Gardos channel and Psickle positively associated with microalbuminuria, while increased KCC activity associated with a reduction in microalbuminuria. This study demonstrates a direct link between the abnormally active red cell cation transport systems in sickle cell disease and sickle organopathy. Small variations in the activity of these transport mechanisms predict for SCN and measurement of them may help identify those at risk, while pharmaceutical manipulation of these excessively active systems may ameliorate their risk.



Proteinuria, Sickle Cell Disease, Hyperfiltration, Sickle Cell Nephropathy, K+ Permeability

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Action Medical Research (2030)
Medical Research Council (G0901177)