Dyslipidemia and cardiovascular health in childhood nephrotic syndrome

  • Pankaj HariEmail author
  • Priyanka Khandelwal
  • William E. Smoyer
Educational Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. What’s new in Hypertension


Children with steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) are exposed to multiple cardiovascular risk factors predisposing them to accelerated atherosclerosis. This risk is negligible in steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome, but a substantial proportion of children with SRNS progress to chronic kidney disease, exacerbating the already existing cardiovascular risk. While dyslipidemia is an established modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adults with NS, it is uncertain to what extent analogous risks exist for children. There is increasing evidence of accelerated atherosclerosis in children with persistently high lipid levels, especially in refractory NS. Abnormalities of lipid metabolism in NS include hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia due to elevated apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, decreased lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase activity, increased hepatic PCSK9 levels, and reduced hepatic uptake of high-density lipoprotein. Existing guidelines for the management of dyslipidemia in children may be adapted to target lower lipid levels in children with NS, but they will most likely require both lifestyle modifications and pharmacological therapy. While there is a lack of data from randomized controlled trials in children with NS demonstrating the benefit of lipid-lowering drugs, therapies including statins, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, ezetimibe, and LDL apheresis have all been suggested and/or utilized. However, concerns with the use of lipid-lowering drugs in children include unclear side effect profiles and unknown long-term impacts on neurological development and puberty. The recent introduction of anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies and other therapies targeted to the molecular mechanisms of lipid transport disrupted in NS holds promise for the future treatment of dyslipidemia in NS.


Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors Lipid metabolism Hypolipidemic agents 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© IPNA 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pankaj Hari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Priyanka Khandelwal
    • 1
  • William E. Smoyer
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Nephrology, Department of PediatricsAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, College of MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Center for Clinical and Translational ResearchThe Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s HospitalColumbusUSA

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