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Recurrence of idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) after renal transplantation is believed to be caused by a circulating factor(s). We detected cardiotrophin-like cytokine factor 1 (CLCF1), a member of the interleukin 6 family, in the plasma from patients with recurrent FSGS. We hypothesized that CLCF1 contributes to the effect of FSGS serum on the glomerular filtration barrier in vitro. Presently, we studied the effect of CLCF1 on isolated rat glomeruli using an in vitro assay of albumin permeability (Palb). CLCF1 (0.05–100 ng/mL) increasedPalb and caused maximal effect at 5–10 ng/mL (P< 0.001). The increase inPalb was analogous to the effect of FSGS serum. Anti-CLCF1 monoclonal antibody blocked the CLCF1-induced increase inPalb and significantly attenuated the effect of FSGS serum (P< 0.001). The heterodimer composed of CLCF1 and cosecreted molecule cytokine receptor-like factor 1 (CRLF1) attenuated the increase inPalb caused by CLCF1 or FSGS serum. Western blot analysis showed that CLCF1 upregulated phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) (Tyr705) in glomeruli. This effect was diminished by the heterodimer CLCF1-CRLF1. Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) inhibitor BMS-1119543 or STAT3 inhibitor Stattic significantly blocked the effect of CLCF1 or FSGS serum onPalb (P< 0.001). These novel findings suggest that when monomeric CLCF1 increasesPalb, the heterodimer CLCF1-CRLF1 may protect the glomerular filtration barrier. We speculate that albuminuria in FSGS is related to qualitative or quantitative changes in the CLCF1-CRLF1 complex, and that JAK2 or STAT3 inhibitors may be novel therapeutic agents to treat FSGS.