Urinary exosomal circular RNAs of sex chromosome origin are associated with gender-related risk differences of clinicopathological features in patients with IgA nephropathy



There are arguments for individualized treatments and the necessity of non-invasive biomarkers for patients with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) according to gender, but the rationale remains unclear. We aimed to investigate the relationship between urine exosomal circular RNA (circRNA) levels, related genes, clinical features, and renal pathological features in IgA nephropathy patients of different genders.


Clinicopathological data from patients of different genders from a multicenter cohort were retrospectively analyzed. We used the Oxford classification to examine the severity of pathological damage in these patients. We compared clinical features and renal pathologies between IgAN patients of different genders. Using findings of urine exosomal circRNAs from male IgAN patients, we analyzed the relationship between this factor, the regulated genes located on the sex chromosomes, and renal pathologies.


A total of 502 IgAN patients were included. The proportion of male patients with crescent formation was higher than that of females (p = 0.019). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that proteinuria was an independent marker for crescent formation in male and female patients with IgAN, while smoking and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were independent risk factors for crescent formation in males alone. Urine exosomal circRNA chrY:15478147-15481229- located on the Y chromosome in male patients was negatively correlated with the expressions of UTY in specific regions of the Y chromosome.


Compared with female patients, males with IgAN had more severe renal dysfunction and a higher probability of glomerular crescent formation. Urine exosomal circRNA chrY:15478147-15481229- might participate in the pathogenesis of IgAN in male patients by altering UTY expressions.

Graphic abstract