Acquired Resistance to Corticotropin Therapy in Nephrotic Syndrome: Role of De Novo Neutralizing Antibody Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Wang, Pei; Zhang, Yan; Wang, Yu; Brem, Andrew S; Liu, Zhangsuo; Gong, Rujun


  • There is increasing evidence supporting the use of corticotropin as an alternative treatment of refractory proteinuric glomerulopathies. The efficacy of short-acting corticotropin, however, remains unknown and was tested here in an adolescent with steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome caused by minimal change disease. After developing Cushing syndrome and recently being afflicted with severe cellulitis, the patient was weaned off all immunosuppressants, including corticosteroids. This resulted in a relapse of generalized anasarca, associated with massive proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia. Subsequently, mono-therapy with short-acting animal-derived natural corticotropin was initiated and resulted in a rapid response, marked by substantial diuresis, reduction in body weight, and partial remission of proteinuria. Ten days later, the patient developed mild skin rash and subcutaneous nodules at injection sites. A relapse followed despite doubling the dose of corticotropin, consistent with delayed-onset resistance to treatment. Immunoblot-based antibody assay revealed de novo formation of antibodies in the patient's serum that were reactive to the natural corticotropin. In cultured melanoma cells known to express abundant melanocortin receptors, addition of the patient's serum strikingly mitigated dendritogenesis and cell signaling triggered by natural corticotropin, denoting neutralizing properties of the newly formed antibodies. Collectively, short-acting natural corticotropin seems effective in steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome. De novo formation of neutralizing antibodies is likely responsible for acquired resistance to corticotropin therapy. The proof of concept protocols established in this study to examine the anticorticotropin neutralizing antibodies may aid in determining the cause of resistance to corticotropin therapy in future studies.


publication date

  • 2017

published in


  • 140