About 50-80% of patients with lupus suffer from lupus nephritis which is one of major causes of morbidity and mortality. Renal pathologists and nephrologists should evaluate the degree of histological damages to establish therapeutic plans for lupus nephritis. In order to standardize definitions, to emphasize clinically relevant lesions, and to improve interobserver reproducibility, the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society (ISN/RPS) classification was proposed. Recently, several retrospective validation studies concerning the utility of the ISN/RPS classification, especially among class IV, were performed. In these reports, reproducibility is improved by the definition of diagnostic term, but the outcome related with classification, especially in class IV, is controversial. We performed retrospective analysis of 99 biopsy-proven subjects with lupus nephritis in our facility using the ISN/RPS classification. The class IV-G group tended to exhibit a worse renal outcome, but the difference compared with IV-S was not significant. In a Cox proportional hazards models, Independent histological predictors of poor renal outcome were extracapillary proliferation, glomerular sclerosis and fibrous crescents, while hyaline thrombi and fibrous adhesions were of favorable renal outcome. Both were similarly observed in IV-G and IV-S. The more qualitative categorization by the response to standard treatment may be needed to emphasize clinically relevant lesion related to renal outcome.
ISN/RPS Classification; Lupus; Lupus Nephritis; Outcome
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) is a chronic autoimmune disease, and kidney involvement with SLE, a.k.a. lupus nephritis (LN), is a frequent and severe complication of SLE that increases patient morbidity and mortality. About 50% of patients with SLE encounter renal abnormalities which, if left untreated, can lead to end-stage renal disease. Kidney biopsy is considered the criterion standard for diagnosis and staging of LN using the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society (ISN/RPS) classification, which was developed to help predict renal outcomes and assist with medical decision-making. However, kidney biopsy-based classification of LN is highly invasive and impractical for real-time monitoring of LN status. Here, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolic profiling was used to identify urinary metabolites that discriminated between proliferative and pure membranous LN as defined by the ISN/RPS classification, and between LN and primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).
Metabolic profiling was conducted using urine samples of patients with proliferative LN without membranous features (Class III/IV; n = 7) or pure membranous LN (Class V; n = 7). Patients with primary FSGS and proteinuria (n = 10) served as disease controls. For each patient, demographic information and clinical data was obtained and a random urine sample collected to measure NMR spectra. Data and sample collection for patients with LN occurred around the time of kidney biopsy. Metabolic profiling analysis was done by visual inspection and principal component analysis.
Urinary citrate levels were 8-fold lower in Class V LN compared to Class III/IV patients, who had normal levels of urinary citrate (P < 0.05). Class III/IV LN patients had > 10-fold lower levels of urinary taurine compared to Class V patients, who had mostly normal levels (P < 0.01). Class V LN patients had normal urinary hippurate levels compared to FSGS patients, who completely lacked urinary hippurate (P < 0.001).
This pilot study indicated differences in urinary metabolites between proliferative LN and pure membranous LN patients, and between LN and FSGS patients. If confirmed in larger studies, these urine metabolites may serve as biomarkers to help discriminate between different classes of LN, and between LN and FSGS.
Although renal pathology is highly predictive of the disease course in lupus nephritis, it cannot be performed serially because of its invasive nature and associated morbidity. The goal of this study is to investigate whether urinary levels of CXC ligand 16 (CXCL16), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) or vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) in patients with lupus nephritis are predictive of particular features of renal pathology in renal biopsies obtained on the day of urine procurement.
CXCL16, MCP-1, and VCAM-1 levels were measured in urine samples from 74 lupus nephritis patients and 13 healthy volunteers. Of the patients enrolled, 24 patients had a concomitant kidney biopsy performed at the time of urine collection. In addition, patients with other renal diatheses were also included as controls.
All three molecules were elevated in the urine of systemic lupus erythematosus patients, although VCAM-1 (area under curve = 0.92) and MCP-1 (area under curve = 0.87) were best at distinguishing the systemic lupus erythematosus samples from the healthy controls, and were also most strongly associated with clinical disease severity and active renal disease. For patients in whom concurrent renal biopsies had also been performed, urine VCAM-1 exhibited the strongest association with the renal pathology activity index and glomerulonephritis class IV, although it correlated negatively with the chronicity index. Interestingly, urinary VCAM-1 was also elevated in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies-associated glomerulonephritis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and membranous nephropathy but not in minimal-change disease.
Urinary VCAM-1 emerges as a reliable indicator of the activity:chronicity ratios that mark the underlying renal pathology in lupus nephritis. Since VCAM-1 is involved in the acute phase of inflammation when leukocytic infiltration is ongoing, longitudinal studies are warranted to establish whether tracking urine VCAM-1 levels may help monitor clinical and pathological disease activity over time.
Sixty two children were included in a collaborative study to determine the prognosis for lupus nephritis. Renal involvement was confirmed by histologic study of renal biopsy specimens which were classified into five categories: minimal lesions (11 cases, 18%); focal segmental glomerulonephritis (15, 24%); diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis (30, 48%); membranous nephropathy (5, 8%); and glomerular sclerosis (1,2%). That the predictive value of the early biopsy is limited was indicated by the most recent status of 37 patients five years after onset--total remission (13, 35%); urinary abnormalities or nephrotic syndrome (7, 19%); moderate renal failure (4, 11%); chronic renal failure (7, 19%); and hypertension (6, 16%). Treatment did not always prevent the development of severe renal failure; in particular, plasmapheresis failed to avert the death of one patient and the development of chronic renal failure in two others.
Objective. This study is designed to observe the urinary tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) levels in patients with lupus nephritis (LN) and to identify new biomarker of lupus nephritis activity. Methods. Study subjects were 46 cases of patients with LN (including 34 of active cases) who underwent routine renal biopsy. Activity and chronicity indexes of LN were assessed using pathological criteria proposed by Hill et al. in 2000. Urinary TWEAK (uTWEAK) level and Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) level were detected by ELISA. Results. Urinary TWEAK level was significantly higher in active LN group than in non-active LN group. Correlation analysis showed that urinary TWEAK levels were significantly correlated with activity index (r = 0.825, P < 0.01), glomerular activity index (r = 0.754, P < 0.01), and tubulointerstitial qualitative activity index (r = 0.751, P < 0.01), while not significant correlated with chronicity Index (P > 0.05). The association between urinary TWEAK levels and urinary MCP-1 levels were significant in active LN group (r = 0.809, P < 0.01) but not significant in non-active LN group (P > 0.05). Conclusions. uWEAK levels were correlated with all active indexes of LN, suggesting its potential role as novel biomarker of active lupus nephritis.
To identify potential biomarkers in immune-mediated nephritis, urine from mice subjected to an augmented passive model of anti-glomerular basement membrane-induced experimental nephritis was resolved using 2D-gels. The urinary proteome in these diseased mice was comprised of at least 71 different proteins. Using orthogonal assays, several of these molecules, including serum amyloid P, prostaglandin D synthase, superoxide dismutase, renin and total protease were validated to be elevated in the urine and kidneys of mice during anti-GBM disease, as well as in mice with spontaneously arising lupus nephritis. Among these, urinary protease was the only marker that appeared to be exclusively renal in origin, whereas the others were partly serum-derived. Longitudinal studies in murine lupus demonstrated that total urinary protease had better predictive value for histologically active nephritis (r = 0.78), compared to proteinuria (r = −0.04) or azotemia (r = 0.28), or the other markers examined, while urine SAP emerged as the single most predictive marker of histological GN. Collectively, these studies uncover total urinary protease, PGDS, SAP and SOD as novel biomarkers of anti-GBM disease and lupus nephritis, with stronger correlation to renal disease compared to currently employed biomarkers. These findings could have important diagnostic and prognostic ramifications in the management of these renal diatheses.
Nephritis; Lupus; Proteomics; Biomarkers; Urine
Lupus nephritis is characterised by intrarenal inflammation and lymphocyte activation.
To examine the profile of cytokine gene expression in glomerulus and tubulointerstitium in patients with lupus nephritis.
36 consecutive patients with systemic lupus erythematosus having active renal disease were recruited, and they were required to undergo kidney biopsy. Glomerular and tubulointestitial cytokine expression of interleukin (IL)2, 4, 10, 12, 18, interferon γ (IFN)γ, T‐bet (the Th1 transcription factor), GATA‐3 (the Th2 transcription factor), transforming growth factorβ and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)1 were studied by laser microdissection of the renal biopsy specimen, followed by real‐time quantitative PCR.
There were 13 patients with World Health Organization class III nephritis, 14 patients with class IV nephritis and 9 patients with class V nephritis. There was a significant correlation between serum C3, C4 and anti‐double strand DNA antibody level with glomerular expression of T‐bet, IFNγ and IL2. There was a significant correlation between histological activity index and glomerular expression of IL12, IL18, IL10 and MCP1. In addition, the degree of glomerular leucocyte infiltration significantly correlated with glomerular expression of IFNγ, IL10, IL12 and IL18. By contrast, histological chronicity index correlated with the tubulointerstitial expression of IL2, MCP1 and GATA‐3.
Intraglomerular expression of certain target genes correlate with the severity of systemic as well as histological activity, whereas the tubulointerstitial expression of other target genes correlate with the degree of chronic kidney scarring. This result may shed light on the immunopathogenesis of lupus nephritis.
To develop recommendations for the management of adult and paediatric lupus nephritis (LN).
The available evidence was systematically reviewed using the PubMed database. A modified Delphi method was used to compile questions, elicit expert opinions and reach consensus.
Immunosuppressive treatment should be guided by renal biopsy, and aiming for complete renal response (proteinuria <0.5 g/24 h with normal or near-normal renal function). Hydroxychloroquine is recommended for all patients with LN. Because of a more favourable efficacy/toxicity ratio, as initial treatment for patients with class III–IVA or A/C (±V) LN according to the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society 2003 classification, mycophenolic acid (MPA) or low-dose intravenous cyclophosphamide (CY) in combination with glucocorticoids is recommended. In patients with adverse clinical or histological features, CY can be prescribed at higher doses, while azathioprine is an alternative for milder cases. For pure class V LN with nephrotic-range proteinuria, MPA in combination with oral glucocorticoids is recommended as initial treatment. In patients improving after initial treatment, subsequent immunosuppression with MPA or azathioprine is recommended for at least 3 years; in such cases, initial treatment with MPA should be followed by MPA. For MPA or CY failures, switching to the other agent, or to rituximab, is the suggested course of action. In anticipation of pregnancy, patients should be switched to appropriate medications without reducing the intensity of treatment. There is no evidence to suggest that management of LN should differ in children versus adults.
Recommendations for the management of LN were developed using an evidence-based approach followed by expert consensus.
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe and frequent manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Early detection of initial renal manifestations and relapses during follow-up is pivotal to prevent loss of renal function. Apart from renal biopsies, current urinary and serological diagnostic tests fail to accurately demonstrate the presence of active LN. Previously, we demonstrated that effector memory T-cells (CD45RO+CCR7-;TEM) migrate into the urine during active LN. The objective of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of urinary T-cells in comparison with traditional markers of active LN.
T-cells in the urine during active LN and remission were investigated. Twenty-two, in most cases biopsy-proven, active LN patients and 24 SLE patients without active LN were enrolled and serial measurements were performed in 16 patients.
Analysis of the urinary sediment in active renal disease showed an increased number of CD8+ T-cells and absence of these cells during remission. Enumerating T-cell counts in LN patients with a history of renal involvement was a superior marker of active LN in comparison to traditional markers, such as proteinuria and s-creatinine.
In conclusion, urinary T-cells, in particular CD8+ T cells, are a promising marker to assess renal activity in LN patients, in particular in those with prior renal involvement.
Objectives. Clinical and laboratory markers in current use have limited specificity and sensitivity for predicting the development of renal disease in lupus patients. In this longitudinal study, we investigated whether urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) predicts active nephritis and renal flares in lupus patients with and without a history of biopsy-proven lupus nephritis.
Methods. Renal disease activity and flare status was determined by SLEDAI and BILAG scores. Random effects models were used to determine whether uNGAL was a significant predictor for renal disease activity in SLE patients, and for renal flares in patients with established nephritis. To assess the predictive performance of uNGAL, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed using the previous visit’s uNGAL level. These curves were then compared with curves constructed with currently used biomarkers. Cut-offs determined by ROC curves were tested in an independent validation cohort.
Results. uNGAL was found to be a significant predictor of renal disease activity in all SLE patients, and a significant predictor for flare in patients with a history of biopsy-proven nephritis, in multivariate models adjusting for age, race, sex and anti-double-stranded (ds)DNA antibody titres. As a predictor of renal flare in patients with biopsy-proven nephritis, uNGAL outperformed anti-dsDNA antibody titres. These results were confirmed in an independent validation cohort.
Conclusions. uNGAL predicts renal flare in patients with a history of biopsy-proven nephritis with high sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, uNGAL is a more sensitive and specific forecaster of renal flare in patients with a history of lupus nephritis than anti-dsDNA antibody titres.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Lupus nephritis; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index; British Isles Lupus Assessment Group; Biomarkers
Objective: To investigate antibodies to complement 1q (anti-C1q) and investigate the correlation between anti-C1q titres and renal disease in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: 151 SLE patients were studied. In patients with biopsy proven lupus nephritis (n = 77), activity of renal disease was categorised according to the BILAG renal score. Sera were tested for anti-C1q by enzyme immunoassay. Serum samples were randomly selected from 83 SLE patients who had no history of renal disease, and the positive and negative predictive value of the antibodies was studied.
Results: Patients with active lupus nephritis (BILAG A or B) had a higher prevalence of anti-C1q than those with no renal disease (74% v 32%; relative risk (RR) = 2.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 3.3)) (p<0.0001). There was no significant difference in anti-C1q prevalence between SLE without nephritis and SLE with non-active nephritis (BILAG C or D) (32% v 53%, p = 0.06) or between active and non-active nephritis (74% v 53%, p = 0.06). Patients with nephritis had higher anti-C1q levels than those without nephritis (36.0 U/ml (range 4.9 to 401.0) v 7.3 U/ml (4.9 to 401.0)) (p<0.001). Anti-C1q were found in 33 of 83 patients (39%) without history of renal disease. Nine of the 33 patients with anti-C1q developed lupus nephritis. The median renal disease-free interval was nine months. One patient with positive anti-C1q was diagnosed as having hypocomplementaemic urticarial vasculitis syndrome during follow up.
Conclusions: Anti-C1q in SLE are associated with renal involvement. Monitoring anti-C1q and their titres in SLE patients could be important for predicting renal flares.
Samples of protein from the urine of 23 patients with lupus nephropathy and 15 patients with proteinuria who did not have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were studied for the presence of cytokines, soluble interleukin 2 receptors (sIL-2R), and free light chain immunoglobulins. The patients with lupus nephropathy were divided into two groups with active (nephritis) and inactive inflammation (nephrosis) based on the results of the analysis of urine samples and renal histology. The crude urine proteins (5 mg/ml) after precipitation by 80% ammonium sulphate from 14 patients with lupus nephritis contained higher concentrations of sIL-2R (4.88 (SEM 1.27 ng/ml) than those from nine patients with nephrosis (1.11 (0.52) ng/ml) or 15 patients without SLE (1.31 (0.87) ng/ml). The concentration of sIL-2R in protein from urine samples was not correlated with the concentration in plasma and was inversely correlated with the excretion of protein in urine over 24 hours in patients with SLE. It is suggested that, in addition to leakage from the circulation, the local production of sIL-2R by inflamed kidneys is possible. The crude proteins in urine were further fractionated by gel filtration on Sephacryl S-200. Arbitrarily, four fractions could be obtained from urine from patients with SLE but only three fractions were found in the urine of patients without SLE. Fraction IV derived from patients with nephritis or nephrosis augmented the pokeweed mitogen induced [3H]thymidine uptake of mononuclear cells. In addition, the positive rates of free kappa (kappa) (35.7%) and lambda (lambda) (42.9%) chains in proteins in urine from nephritic patients were higher than those in the other two groups. These results suggest that the severity of inflammation in the kidneys of patients with lupus can be reflected by the increased excretion of sIL-2R, free light chain immunoglobulins, and cytokine-like molecules in urine.
OBJECTIVE—To clarify the characteristics of renal haemodynamics in patients with lupus nephritis (LN).
METHODS—The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal plasma flow (RPF) of 37 patients with active LN were studied longitudinally over an interval of 8 to 144 weeks during treatment with corticosteroids or cytotoxic drugs, or both. All patients had clinical renal disorders and underwent renal biopsies.
RESULTS—Analysis of renal biopsy specimens showed that 31 patients had class IV LN. Class II, III, and V LN were present in two patients each. The average GFR increased significantly from 65.4 (SD 33.0) in the pretreatment stage to 86.6 (31.6) ml/min in the post-treatment stage, accompanied by an improvement in urinary or immunological abnormalities, or both. On the other hand, RPF decreased significantly from 625.2 (243.0) to 519.8 (179.0) ml/min. Therefore, the filtration fraction (FF) increased significantly from 10.7 (4.3)% to 16.8 (3.7)%. Low FF was recognised predominantly in patients with class IV LN, but was also observed in patients with other classes. The FF returned towards normal irrespective of the degree of GFR recovery. No significant changes were observed in the levels of blood pressure.
CONCLUSION—A reduction in GFR out of proportion to the reduction in RPF as demonstrated by the low FF values was related to the severity of LN or disease activity, or both. Therefore, relative evaluation of GFR and RPF, namely the determination of FF, may be a useful clinical parameter to determine the status of LN.
Keywords: systemic lupus erythematosus; lupus nephritis; renal haemodynamics; filtration fraction
Lupus nephritis is a frequent and serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Treatment often requires the use of immunosuppression, and may be associated with severe side effects. The ability to predict relapse, relapse severity, and recovery could be used to more effectively implement therapy and reduce toxicity. We postulated that a proteomic analysis of the low-molecular weight urine proteome using serial urine samples obtained before, during, and after SLE nephritis flares would demonstrate potential biomarkers of SLE renal flare. This study was undertaken to test our hypothesis.
Urine from 25 flare cycles of 19 WHO Class III, IV, and V SLE nephritis patients was used. Urine samples included a baseline, and pre-flare, flare, and post-flare specimens. The urines were fractionated to remove proteins larger than 30 kDa, and spotted onto weak cation exchanger (CM10) protein chips for analysis by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS).
SELDI-TOF MS screening showed 176 protein ions between 2-20 kDa of which 27 were found to be differentially-expressed between specific flare intervals. On-chip peptide sequencing by integrated tandem mass spectrometry was used to positively identify selected differentially-expressed protein ions. The identified proteins included the 20 and 25 amino acid isoforms of hepcidin, a fragment of α1-antitrypsin, and an albumin fragment. Hepcidin 20 increased 4 months pre-flare and returned to baseline at renal flare, whereas hepcidin 25 decreased at renal flare and returned to baseline 4 months post-flare.
Using SELDI-TOF urine protein profiling in lupus nephritis, several candidate biomarkers of renal flare were found. To verify these candidates as true biomarkers, further identification and validation are needed in an independent SLE cohort.
lupus nephritis; biomarker; SELDI
There is wide variation in clinical presentation and outcome of lupus nephritis (LN) among different ethnic groups. Few data for LN exist on North Africans, especially those from Morocco. The aim of our study was to review retrospectively the features and outcome of LN in Moroccan patients.
Patients and methods
We performed a single-center retrospective study. A total of 114 patients with LN were included. All patients met American Rheumatism Association criteria. LN was classified according to the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society classification. We adopted previously defined outcome criteria for LN.
There were 101 females and 13 males, with a mean age of 29.9 years. At first presentation, we noted hypertension in 33%, hematuria in 76%, nephrotic syndrome in 53%, and renal failure in 60% of cases. Renal biopsy revealed predominant proliferative classes in more than 80% of patients. Patients received different regimens mainly based on intravenous cyclophosphamide. After a mean follow-up of 22 months, remission occurred in 45.5%, relapses in 82%, end-stage renal failure in 21%, and death in 16% of cases. Infection and neurological and cardiovascular diseases were the most frequent causes of death.
LN seems to be severe in our study, with a predominance of proliferative forms, severe renal manifestations, and poor renal and overall survival.
lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; nephritis
High mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1) is a nuclear DNA binding protein acting as a pro-inflammatory mediator following extracellular release. HMGB1 has been increasingly recognized as a pathogenic mediator in several inflammatory diseases. Elevated serum levels of HMGB1 have been detected in autoimmune diseases including Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the local expression of HMGB1 in active lupus nephritis (LN) is not known. Here we aimed to study both tissue expression and serum levels of HMGB1 in LN patients with active disease and after induction therapy.
Thirty-five patients with active LN were included. Renal biopsies were performed at baseline and after standard induction therapy; corticosteroids combined with immunosuppressive drugs. The biopsies were evaluated according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification and renal disease activity was estimated using the British Isles lupus assessment group (BILAG) index. Serum levels of HMGB1 were analysed by western blot. HMGB1 expression in renal tissue was assessed by immunohistochemistry at baseline and follow-up biopsies in 25 patients.
Baseline biopsies showed WHO class III, IV or V and all patients had high renal disease activity (BILAG A/B). Follow-up biopsies showed WHO I to II (n = 14), III (n = 6), IV (n = 3) or V (n = 12), and 15/35 patients were regarded as renal responders (BILAG C/D).
At baseline HMGB1 was significantly elevated in serum compared to healthy controls (P < 0.0001). In all patients, serum levels decreased only slightly; however, in patients with baseline WHO class IV a significant decrease was observed (P = 0.03). Immunostaining revealed a pronounced extranuclear HMGB1 expression predominantly outlining the glomerular endothelium and in the mesangium. There was no clear difference in HMGB1 expression comparing baseline and follow-up biopsies or any apparent association to histopathological classification or clinical outcome.
Renal tissue expression and serum levels of HMGB1 were increased in LN. The lack of decrease of HMGB1 in serum and tissue after immunosuppressive therapy in the current study may reflect persistent inflammatory activity. This study clearly indicates a role for HMGB1 in LN.
In lupus erythematosus, elevated serum creatinine levels and urinary abnormalities implicate a kidney disorder, which may not always be lupus nephritis as defined by the current classification of the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society. The signs of renal dysfunction may be caused by lupusunrelated renal injury such as drug toxicity or infection or by lupus-associated mechanisms that are not part of the classification, such as minimal change nephrotic syndrome or thrombotic microangiopathy. The latter seems to complicate lupus nephritis more frequently than previously thought. An unbiased assessment of kidney disease in lupus requires a kidney (re-)biopsy to define the appropriate management.
In lupus nephritis, glomerular injury correlates poorly with progression to renal failure. While the tubulointerstitium is also commonly involved, the importance of such involvement is not well defined. Therefore, we developed a simple method to assess the prognostic utility of measuring tubulointerstitial inflammation (TI).
Sixty-eight SLE patients with lupus nephritis were enrolled. Tubulointerstitial lymphocytic infiltrates were quantitated both by anti-CD45 antibody staining and standard histochemical staining. Follow-up data was obtained and survival analysis carried out to determine which histologic features were predictive of subsequent renal failure.
By CD45 staining TI was a common pathological finding, with 72% of biopsies having moderate or severe involvement. The extent of TI correlated with serum creatinine, but not with dsDNA antibodies, serum C3, or glomerular inflammation. TI severity, but not glomerular injury, identified patients at greater risk for renal failure (p=0.02). A high NIH chronicity index also identified patients at risk for renal failure. However, when the glomerular and tubulointerstitial subcomponents of the NIH chronicity index were separated in a bivariate model, only tubulointerstitial chronicity provided prognostic information (HR 2.2, 95% C.I. 1.3, 3.6, p=0.002 vs. HR 1.0, 95% C.I. 0.7, 1.5. p=0.97 for glomerular chronicity).
TI identifies lupus nephritis patients at greatest risk for progression to renal failure. The immunological mechanisms underlying TI may provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
To determine whether the amount of cyclooxygenase metabolites correlates with the development of lupus nephritis, intrarenal eicosanoid production was measured in autoimmune mice. Disease progression was related to the renal biosynthesis of prostaglandin (PGE2), prostacyclin (6 keto PGF1 alpha), and thromboxane (TXB2) using the MRL-lpr and NZB X NZW F1 hybrid mouse strains with predictably progressive forms of renal disease that mimic the human illness. Mice were evaluated for renal disease by measuring urinary protein excretion and renal immunopathological conditions and these features were related to renal eicosanoid production. These studies show that: (a) intrarenal synthesis of TXB2 increased incrementally in MRL-lpr and NZB X NZW F1 hybrid mice as renal function deteriorated and renal pathologic events progressed; (b) there were no consistent increases in the levels of two other cyclooxygenase metabolites, PGE2 or 6 keto PGF1 alpha; (c) increased TXB2 production occurred in the renal medulla, cortex, and within enriched preparations of cortical glomeruli; (d) when renal disease was prevented by pharmacologic doses of PGE2, intrarenal TXB2 did not increase; (e) administration of a dose of ibuprofen (9 mg/kg), a cyclooxygenase inhibitor capable of reducing 90% of platelet TXB2 without affecting intrarenal levels, did not retard the progression of renal damage. Taken together, these data indicate that the intrarenal level of TXB2 rises in relation to the severity of murine lupus nephritis. Furthermore, because of the potential deleterious effects of TXA2, enhanced production of this eicosanoid may be an important mediator of renal injury.
Among various lupus renal vascular changes, thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) presented with the most severe clinical manifestations and high mortality. The pathogenesis of TMA in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was complicated. The aim of this study was to assess clinical manifestations, laboratory characteristics, pathological features and risk factors for clinical outcomes of lupus nephritis patients co-existing with renal TMA in a large cohort in China.
Clinical and renal histopathological data of 148 patients with biopsy-proven lupus nephritis were retrospectively analyzed. Serum complement factor H, A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease with Thrombospondin type I repeats 13 (ADAMTS-13) activity, antiphospholipid antibodies and C4d deposition on renal vessels were further detected and analyzed.
In the 148 patients with lupus nephritis, 36 patients were diagnosed as co-existing with renal TMA based on pathological diagnosis. Among the 36 TMA patients, their clinical diagnoses of renal TMA were as followings: 2 patients combining with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura-hemolytic uremic syndrome, 2 patients combining with anti-phospholipid syndrome, 2 patients with malignant hypertension, 1 patient with scleroderma and the other 29 patients presenting with isolated renal TMA. Compared with the non-renal TMA group, patients with renal TMA had significantly higher urine protein (7.09 ± 4.64 vs. 4.75 ± 3.13 g/24h, P = 0.007) and serum creatinine (159, 86 to 215 vs. 81, 68 to 112 μmol/l, P <0.001), higher scores of total activity indices (AI) (P <0.001), endocapillary hypercellularity (P <0.001), subendothelial hyaline deposits (P = 0.003), interstitial inflammation (P = 0.005), glomerular leukocyte infiltration (P = 0.006), total chronicity indices (CI) (P = 0.033), tubular atrophy (P = 0.004) and interstitial fibrosis (P = 0.018). Patients with renal TMA presented with poorer renal outcome (P = 0.005) compared with the non-TMA group. Renal TMA (hazard ratio (HR): 2.772, 95% confidence interval: 1.009 to 7.617, P = 0.048) was an independent risk factor for renal outcome in patients with lupus nephritis. The renal outcome was poorer for those with both C4d deposition and decreased serum complement factor H in the TMA group (P = 0.007).
There were various causes of renal TMA in lupus nephritis. Complement over-activation via both classical and alternative pathways might play an important role in the pathogenesis of renal TMA in lupus nephritis.
To investigate the relationship of urinary biomarkers (UBM) and established measures of renal function (EMRF) to the histological findings with lupus nephritis (LN); and to test whether certain combinations of the above mentioned laboratory measures are diagnostic of specific histological features of LN.
Urine samples of 76 patients were collected within 2 months of a kidney biopsy and assayed for the UBM: lipocalin-like prostaglandin-D synthetase (LPGDS), α1-acid-glycoprotein (AAG), transferrin (TF), ceruloplasmin (CP), neutrophil-gelatinase associated lipocalin (NGAL), and monocyte chemotactic factor 1 (MCP1). Using non-parametric analyses, UBM and EMRF levels were compared to histological features seen with LN: mesangial expansion, capillary proliferation, crescent formation, necrosis, wire loops, fibrosis, tubular atrophy, and epimembranous deposits. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) curve was calculated to predict LN activity, chronicity or membranous LN.
There was a differential increase of the UBM that formed a pattern reflective of specific histological features seen with active LN. The combination of MCP1, AAG, CP plus protein:creatinine ratio were excellent in predicting LN activity (AUC=0.85). NGAL together with creatinine clearance plus MCP1 was an excellent (AUC=0.83) and MCP1, AAG, creatinine clearance plus C4 (AUC=0.75) a good diagnostic test of LN chronicity and membranous LN, respectively.
Select UBM are associated with specific tissue changes observed with LN activity and chronicity. Especially in combination with select EMRF, UBM are well-suited to non-invasively quantify LN activity, LN chronicity, and the presence of membranous LN.
SLE; lupus nephritis; kidney biopsy; biomarker
Although renal biopsy is the most accurate way of assessing renal inflammation in patients with lupus nephritis (LN), the technique is invasive and cannot be performed frequently. Currently used blood and urine biomarkers have limited utility in monitoring the activity of nephritis. In a previous issue of Arthritis Research and Therapy, Singh and colleagues showed that measuring urinary levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 could be useful in both diagnosing and monitoring LN. These levels are higher in patients with lupus than controls, are higher in lupus patients who have active renal disease compared with those who do not, and correlate significantly with the histological activity index in renal biopsies of patients with LN.
To evaluate serum anti-C1q antibodies as a biomarker of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) flare and as a proposed noninvasive alternative to renal biopsy which is still the “gold standard” to determine renal activity in SLE.
Serum anti-C1q antibodies were measured in our patients (all were females), they were followed at the nephrology and pediatric nephrology units at the Faculties of Medicine of Cairo University and Misr University for science and technology (MUST). Our study included 120 patients in the pediatric and adolescent age group and they were categorized into three groups with (mean ± SD of 16.7 ± 3, 16.1 ± 2, 15.9 ± 3) respectively: Group 1 including 40 patients with SLE and active lupus nephritis; Group 2 including 40 patients with SLE and without active lupus nephritis, but with some extra renal activity mainly arthritis; and Group 3 including 40 healthy subjects.
Anti-C1q antibodies were found to be significantly higher in patients with active lupus nephritis than those without active nephritis than control individuals with a median (range) of [27.5 (14 – 83), 9 (2.5 – 30), 7 (2 – 13)] respectively. In those with active lupus nephritis, anti-C1q was found to correlate significantly with other parameters assessing lupus nephritis activity like C3 (r = -0.33, p < 0.04), C4 (r = -0.32, p < 0.044), daily urinary protein excretion (r = 0.32, p < 0.036), renal SLEDAI (r = 0.64, p < 0.001), and activity index (r = 0.71, p < 0.001).
Anti-C1q antibodies can be used as a considerable marker for LN activity in that age group with 97.5% sensitivity and 65% specificity with the cutoff level 12 U/l. These levels are clearly higher than those for traditional markers of disease activity such as C3/C4 consumption and anti-dsDNA.
anti-C1q antibodies; anti-dsDNA; C3; C4; ELISA; juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus; lupus nephritis; renal SLEDAI; urinary proteins
Lupus nephritis is considered to be a principal cause of morbidity and mortality in SLE. Few studies focus on the association between anti-C1q antibodies in circulation and renal C1q deposition in human lupus nephritis. In this study, we detected the serum levels of C1q, presence of anti-C1q antibodies in circulation, renal C1q deposition and further analyzed their associations with clinical and pathological activity in a large cohort of Chinese lupus nephritis patients.
Sera and renal biopsies from 218 consecutive patients with lupus nephritis with long-term follow up data were studied. Sera were tested for levels of C1q and anti-C1q autoantibodies. Associations of levels of C1q, anti-C1q autoantibodies with renal deposition of C1q, clinical and histopathological data and renal outcome were further investigated.
The levels of serum C1q were significantly lower in lupus nephritis than that in normal controls [33.81 ± 20.36 v.s. 61.97 ± 10.50 μg/ml (P < 0.001)]. The prevalence of anti-C1q antibodies, ratios of glomerular and vascular deposition of C1q in patients with lupus nephritis were 42.7% (93/218), 71.6% (156/218) and 86.2% (188/218), respectively. The serum C1q levels and anti-C1q antibodies were associated with SLEDAI scores (P < 0.001, P = 0.012, respectively), renal total activity indices scores (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, respectively). Granular positive staining of C1q and IgG by immunofluorescence was co-localized almost completely along the glomerular capillary wall and mesangial areas. Patients with anti-C1q antibodies presented with significantly lower serum C1q levels than those without it (23.82 [0.60, 69.62] μg/ml v.s. 37.36 [0.64, 82.83] μg/ml, P < 0.001). The presence of anti-C1q antibodies was associated with the presence of glomerular C1q deposition (P < 0.001), but not with the presence of renal vascular C1q deposition (P = 0.203).
Anti-C1q autoantibodies were closely associated with serum levels of C1q and glomerular deposition of C1q. Kidney is at least one of the target organs of anti-C1q autoantibodies.
Lupus nephritis; Anti-C1q autoantibodies; Serum levels of C1q; C1q depostion
Background. Lupus nephritis (LN) remains a major cause of morbidity and end-stage renal disease. Dysfunction of B lymphocytes is thought to be important in the pathogenesis of SLE/LN. Intrarenal B cells have been found in several forms of inflammatory kidney diseases although their role in LN renal is not well defined. Methods. Intrarenal B cells were analyzed in 192 renal biopsies from patients diagnosed with lupus nephritis. Immunohistochemical staining of serial sections was performed for each LN patient using CD20, CD3, and CD21 antibodies. Results. Intrarenal B cells were more likely to be associated with class IV LN and were mainly distributed in the renal interstitium, with very few in the glomerulus. The systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI), blood urea nitrogen, and serum creatinine levels were all significantly greater in the LN-B cell groups (all P < 0.05). LN renal activity and chronicity indices correlated with B-cells infiltrates (all P < 0.0001). Renal biopsies were classified into four distinct categories according to the organizational grade of inflammatory cell infiltrates. Germinal center- (GC-) like structures were not identified in any LN biopsies. Conclusion. It is hypothesized that intrarenal B cells enhance immunological responses and exaggerate the local immune response to persisting autoimmune damage in the tubulointerstitium.