Proteinuric Nephropathy in Acquired and Congenital Generalized Lipodystrophy: Baseline Characteristics and Course during Recombinant Leptin Therapy

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Generalized lipodystrophy is characterized by adipose tissue absence, hypoleptinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, hepatomegaly, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. In the course of recruiting patients for treatment with recombinant leptin, we were struck by the frequency and severity of proteinuria. We evaluated 25 patients with generalized lipodystrophy. Eighteen were treated with recombinant leptin, and we have followed 15 on leptin for 4-36 months. We followed renal parameters at baseline and during follow-up visits. Renal biopsies were performed as clinically indicated. At baseline, 22 of 25 patients (88%) had elevated urine albumin excretion (>30 mg/24 h), 15 (60%) had macroalbuminuria (>300 mg/24 h), and five (20%) had nephrotic-range proteinuria (>3500 mg/24 h). Twenty-three (92%) had elevated creatinine clearance (>125 ml/min·1.73 m2). Eleven of 15 patients (73%) treated with recombinant leptin exhibited reduction in proteinuria, associated with reduction of hyperfiltration. Four patients who did not improve are discussed individually. Renal biopsy findings were remarkable for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in four patients, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis in two patients, and diabetic nephropathy in one patient. In conclusion, generalized lipodystrophy is associated with proteinuria and unique renal pathologies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. The majority treated with recombinant leptin demonstrated reduction in proteinuria and hyperfiltration.

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