The association of low birthweight and prematurity on outcomes in children and adults with nephrotic syndrome—a NEPTUNE cohort study

on behalf of the NEPTUNE Pediatric Working Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In single-center studies, both preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW) are associated with worse outcomes in childhood nephrotic syndrome. Using the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE) observational cohort, we tested the hypothesis that in patients with nephrotic syndrome, hypertension, proteinuria status, and disease progression would be more prevalent and more severe in subjects with LBW and prematurity singly or in combination (LBW/prematurity). Methods: Three hundred fifty-nine adults and children with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) or minimal change disease (MCD) and available birth history were included. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decline and remission status were primary outcomes, and secondary outcomes were kidney histopathology, kidney gene expression, and urinary biomarkers. Logistic regression was used to identify associations with LBW/prematurity and these outcomes. Results: We did not find an association between LBW/prematurity and remission of proteinuria. However, LBW/prematurity was associated with greater decline in eGFR. This decline in eGFR was partially explained by the association of LBW/prematurity with APOL1 high-risk alleles, but the association remained after adjustment. There were no differences in kidney histopathology or gene expression in the LBW/prematurity group compared to normal birth weight/term birth. Conclusion: LBW and premature babies who develop nephrotic syndrome have a more rapid decline in kidney function. We did not identify clinical or laboratory features that distinguished the groups. Additional studies in larger groups are needed to fully ascertain the effects of (LBW) and prematurity alone or in combination on kidney function in the setting of nephrotic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3297-3308
Number of pages12
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to International Pediatric Nephrology Association.


  • Decline in kidney function
  • FSGS
  • Minimal change disease
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Prematurity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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