Adult and paediatric patients with minimal change nephrotic syndrome show no major alterations in glomerular expression of sulphated heparan sulphate domains.
To evaluate the specificity of a raised heparan sulphate (HS) excretion previously reported in four children with congenital nephrotic syndrome (CNS), we measured the urinary excretion of HS and chondroitin sulphate (CS) in seven children with Finnish-type congenital nephrotic syndrome (CNSF), seven with diffuse mesangial sclerosis (DMS), nine with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), 14 with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome of whom eight had a biopsy confirming minimal change histology (SSNS), and 17 controls. The urine HS/CS ratio in normal children had a median of 0.36 (observed range 0.21 to 0.68) and was independent of age. HS/CS ratio was significantly greater than controls in CNSF (median 0.80, range 0.43 to 1.28), DMS (median 0.81, range 0.49 to 1.13) and FSGS children (median 0.66, range 0.38 to 1.6), but was not in SSNS (median 0.44, range 0.28 to 0.70). There was a positive correlation between the HS/CS ratio and urine albumin excretion. High HS/CS ratios are not diagnostic of a particular histological variety of CNS.