Year in Review

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  • Glucocorticoid exposure remains a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in patients with immune-mediated kidney disease. Recent clinical trials have tested novel potential therapies for these patients and showed that glucocorticoid doses can be reduced without compromising efficacy.

    • Andreas Kronbichler
    • Rachel B. Jones
    Year in Review
  • The dramatic increase in advocacy and scholarly work on the impact of structural racism on health inequities that began in 2020 has been sustained in the past year. In response to the call for action on these issues, the nephrology community has developed policy-based mitigation strategies and continues to examine our role in promoting health equity and justice in the care of patients with kidney disease.

    • Dinushika Mohottige
    • Keisha Gibson
    Year in Review
  • Patients with kidney disease are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. In 2021, key studies demonstrated the safety of renin–angiotensin blockade in patients with kidney failure and COVID-19, and provided new data on the therapeutic potential of soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme, COVID-19 vaccine responses and the long-term effects of COVID-19 on kidney function.

    • María José Soler
    • Conxita Jacobs-Cachá
    Year in Review
  • In 2021, extreme weather and climate events caused preventable injuries, illnesses and deaths. A clear imperative exists to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the sustainability and climate resilience of health systems. Countries and communities must implement strategies to mitigate climate change and invest in health systems to protect their populations.

    • Kristie L. Ebi
    Year in Review
  • New DAPA-CKD trial analyses have confirmed the outstanding renoprotective benefits of sodium–glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors, independently of the presence of diabetes or the stage of kidney disease. Moreover, the non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist finerenone provides renal and cardiovascular protection in diabetic kidney disease when combined with renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system inhibitors.

    • Paola Fioretto
    • Roberto Pontremoli
    Year in Review
  • We saw impressive progress in our understanding of the genetics of kidney function and disease in 2021. Genome-wide association studies defined key common variants for kidney function and disease, and multi-omics methods, including quantitative trait analyses and single cell studies, illuminated key genes and cell types responsible for disease development.

    • Daigoro Hirohama
    • Katalin Susztak
    Year in Review
  • Sodium–glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors offer impressive cardiac and kidney outcome benefits to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). These benefits now appear to extend to people without T2DM, according to three trials published in 2020.

    • Amy Kang
    • Meg J. Jardine
    Year in Review
  • Timely diagnosis and dialytic treatment of acute kidney injury (AKI) came to the forefront at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic as admissions surged in intensive care units. Research on early diagnosis, timing of initiation of kidney replacement therapy, and appropriate post-hospitalization patient care remains essential to tackling the burden of AKI.

    • Anitha Vijayan
    Year in Review
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement for Black Lives have focused attention on racial disparities in kidney health outcomes. In 2020, kidney professionals highlighted threats posed by racism and other negative social drivers of kidney health, and proposed solutions to address these issues through scholarship and advocacy for social justice.

    • O. N. Ray Bignall II
    • Deidra C. Crews
    Year in Review
  • In 2020 a number of clinical trials have provided insights into therapeutic approaches for the treatment of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis and lupus nephritis. Moreover, mechanistic insights have potential to open new therapeutic strategies in the future.

    • Isabelle Ayoub
    • Patrick H. Nachman
    Year in Review
  • Genetic research in nephrology is rapidly advancing. Key studies published in 2020 demonstrate that genetic findings can provide new tools for patient diagnosis and risk stratification as well as important insights into kidney physiology and disease mechanisms that could potentially lead to novel therapies.

    • Anna Köttgen
    • Krzysztof Kiryluk
    Year in Review
  • The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating; however, evidence suggests that patients with, or at risk of, kidney disease are disproportionally affected. Patients on dialysis and kidney transplant recipients are at higher risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19, whereas, conversely, patients with severe COVID-19 are at increased risk of acute kidney injury, with short-term and possibly long-term consequences for nephrological care.

    • Annette Bruchfeld
    Year in Review
  • Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used to improve diagnosis and prognostication for acute and chronic kidney diseases. Studies with this objective published in 2019 relied on a variety of available data sources, including electronic health records, intraoperative physiological signals, kidney ultrasound imaging, and digitized biopsy specimens.

    • Parisa Rashidi
    • Azra Bihorac
    Year in Review
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important clinical problem that is associated with adverse short- and long-term outcomes. Studies published in 2019 provide new insights into the staging, risk stratification and subphenotyping of AKI as well as the adverse effects of AKI on the heart.

    • Chun-Te Huang
    • Kathleen D. Liu
    Year in Review
  • After nearly two decades, a new therapeutic agent, canagliflozin, received regulatory approval to prevent loss of kidney function, end-stage kidney disease, hospitalization for heart failure and cardiovascular death in patients with diabetic kidney disease. Nonetheless, the residual risk of kidney disease progression and complications remains high, underlining the importance of ongoing therapeutic development.

    • Katherine R. Tuttle
    Year in Review
  • Single-cell genomics provide a powerful approach to investigate the intrinsic complexity of the kidney and understand the diverse cell types and states that exist during kidney development, homeostasis and disease. Several advances were made in 2019 that enhance our understanding of kidney immune cell states in health and disease and the quality of current kidney organoid model systems for studying human diseases.

    • Abbe R. Clark
    • Anna Greka
    Year in Review
  • 2019 saw advances in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived nephron progenitors and in our understanding of how nephrons form in a kidney organoid. Fundamental studies of regeneration in zebrafish continue to provide vital clues as to how we might use iPSC-derived cells to regenerate a human nephron in vivo.

    • Melissa H. Little
    • Kynan T. Lawlor
    Year in Review
  • The function of polycystin proteins and the pathogenesis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) are not well understood. Studies published in 2018 made important contributions to the understanding of genetic mechanisms, the structure of the polycystin complex and the roles of G-protein signalling and the immune system in ADPKD.

    • Vicente E. Torres
    • Peter C. Harris
    Year in Review
  • Discoveries in 2018 using single-cell sequencing and gene-editing technologies have revealed their transformative potential for the investigation of kidney physiology and disease. Their promise is matched by the speed of their evolution.

    • Parker C. Wilson
    • Benjamin D. Humphreys
    Year in Review
  • Numerous exciting studies that advanced our understanding of immune-mediated kidney disease were published in 2018. Whereas most of these studies analysed the role of pro-inflammatory mediators, several novel anti-inflammatory mechanisms were discovered that involve immune cells and mediators with previously unrecognized protective roles in renal disease.

    • Christian Kurts
    • Catherine Meyer-Schwesinger
    Year in Review