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HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) predominantly affects people of African ancestry living with HIV who do not receive appropriate antiretroviral therapy (ART). Childhood HIVAN is characterized by heavy proteinuria and decreased kidney function. Kidney histology shows mesangial expansion, classic or collapsing glomerulosclerosis, and microcystic renal tubular dilatation leading to kidney enlargement. The pathogenesis of HIVAN involves the kidney recruitment of inflammatory cells and the infection of kidney epithelial cells. In addition, both viral and genetic factors play key roles in this disease. Modern ART has improved the outcome and decreased the prevalence of childhood HIVAN. However, physicians have had modest success providing chronic ART to children and adolescents, and we continue to see children with HIVAN all over the world. This article discusses the progress made during the last decade in our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of childhood HIVAN, placing particular emphasis on the mechanisms that mediate the infection of kidney epithelial cells, and the roles of cytokines, the HIV-Tat gene, and the Apolipoprotein-1 (APOL1) gene risk variants in this disease. In view of the large number of children living with HIV at risk of developing HIVAN, better prevention and treatment programs are needed to eradicate this disease.


Patricio E Ray, Jinliang Li, Jharna R Das, Pingtao Tang. Childhood HIV-associated nephropathy: 36 years later. Pediatric nephrology (Berlin, Germany). 2021 Aug;36(8):2189-2201

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PMID: 33044676

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