Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) predominantly affects women in their reproductive years. Renal disease (glomerulonephritis) is one of the most frequent and serious manifestations of SLE. Of the various histological types of lupus glomerulonephritis, diffuse proliferative nephritis carries the worst prognosis. Combined with high-dose prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has emerged as a first-line immunosuppressive treatment, although data regarding the efficacy of MMF on the long-term preservation of renal function are forthcoming. Cyclophosphamide is reserved for more severe forms of lupus nephritis, such as crescentic glomerulonephritis with rapidly deteriorating renal function, patients with significant renal function impairment at presentation, and refractory renal disease. Evidence for the calcineurin inhibitors in the treatment of lupus nephritis is weaker, and it concerns patients who are intolerant or recalcitrant to other agents. While further controlled trials are mandatory, B cell modulation therapies, such as rituximab, belimumab and epratuzumab are confined to refractory disease. Non-immunosuppressive measures, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, vigorous blood pressure control, prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and osteoporosis, are equally important.
lupus; nephritis; nephropathy; glomerulonephritis; treatment; therapy; women
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a typical autoimmune disease that's characterized by various autoantibodies to nuclear and cytoplasmic antigens. The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in serum is generally considered a decisive diagnostic sign of SLE. However, a small subset of SLE patients who had the typical clinical features of SLE was reported to show persistently negative ANA tests. Our report describes a 16-yr-old female who presented with the clinical manifestations of SLE such as malar rash, photosensitivity, arthritis, lymphopenia, pericarditis and proteinuria. The serum autoantibodies were all negative and renal biopsy showed that the histopathological changes of immune complex mediated the focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis with crescent formation. She was treated with monthly pulse cyclophosphamide along with corticosteroids. During the 2-yr follow-up period, the proteinuria was markedly decreased and all of the ANA and anti-double stranded DNA antibody tests were negative. This case suggests that ANA may not be required in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis.
Antinuclear antibody; Lupus nephritis; Systemic lupus erythematosus
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.
Four patients with proliferative glomerulonephritis due to systemic lupus erythematosus were treated with intravenous methyl prednisolone 'pulse' therapy. In all, eight courses of therapy were given, three for acute oliguric renal failure; and on each occasion there was a good response to the treatment. Clinical, histological and immunological details of the patients are presented. The diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of disease activity in lupus nephritis are discussed in the light of this experience.
Objective: To compare the efficacy and side effects of intermittent pulse cyclophosphamide plus methylprednisolone with continuous oral cyclophosphamide plus prednisolone, followed by azathioprine, in patients with proliferative glomerulonephritis caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: A multicentre randomised controlled trial was conducted between June 1992 and May 1996 involving eight European centres. All patients satisfied the American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE and had biopsy proven proliferative lupus nephritis. All received corticosteroids in addition to cytotoxic drugs, as defined in the protocol, for two years. The trial was terminated after four years as recruitment was disappointing.
Results: 32 SLE patients with lupus nephritis were recruited: 16 were randomised to intermittent pulse cyclophosphamide and 16 to continuous cyclophosphamide plus azathioprine. Mean duration of follow up was 3.7 years in the continuous group (range 0 to 5.6) and 3.3 years in the pulse group (range 0.25 to 6). Three patients were excluded from the pulse therapy group as they were later found to have pure mesangial glomerulonephritis. Two patients in the continuous therapy group developed end stage renal failure requiring dialysis, but none in the intermittent pulse therapy (p = 0.488; NS). There were similar numbers of side effects and withdrawals from treatment in both groups. There were three deaths: two in the intermittent pulse therapy group and one in the continuous therapy group.
Conclusions: There was no statistically significant difference in efficacy and side effects between the two regimens. Infectious complications occurred commonly, so careful monitoring is required during treatment.
A 14-year-old male presented with bilateral papilledema, growth retardation and absent secondary sexual characters. He had a past history of fever, headache and fatigue of 6 months duration. The diagnosis of intracranial hypertension (IH) was confirmed by an increased intracranial pressure and normal neuroimaging studies of the brain, except for partial empty sella, prominent perioptic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) spaces and buckling of optic nerves. Evaluation showed erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) of 150 mm/hr, positive antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti dsDNA and anti ribosomal P protein. Renal biopsy revealed diffuse segmental proliferative lupus nephritis (LN) class IV S (A) confirming the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Treatment of LN with intravenous pulse methyl prednisolone and cyclophosphamide was effective in normalizing the CSF pressure, resulting in express and dramatic resolution of symptomatology. In a case of IH, SLE must be considered. IH, growth retardation and absence of sexual characters may be presenting manifestations of a chronic systemic inflammatory disease like SLE. These manifestations may act as a pointer to associated advanced grades of LN, which can be totally asymptomatic and missed without a renal biopsy.
Anti dsDNA; anti ribosomal P protein; lupus nephritis; pseudotumor cerebri; systemic lupus erythematosus
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.
Six female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (S.L.E.) have been treated with chlorambucil. In five the decision was taken after failure by corticosteroids to control progressive renal disease in the face of unacceptable corticosteroid toxicity. After the introduction of chlorambucil renal function improved and all patients remain well six, six, five, three, and two-and-a-half years later, respectively. On renal biopsy five had focal proliferative glomerulonephritis. Repeat biopsy in two cases showed quantitative improvement. The sixth patient was treated with chlorambucil because of failure by corticosteroids to control peripheral vascular lesions and haemolysis and she remains well four years later. In four patients is it probable that amenorrhoea was related to chlorambucil treatment, but there were no other important side effects although one patient developed a degree of marrow depression during treatment. Chlorambucil may hold advantages over the immunosuppressive drugs normally recommended in this condition, azathioprine and cyclophosphamide, as it appears less liable to cause important marrow suppression and, unlike cyclophosphamide is not associated with alopecia and haemorrhagic cystitis.
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
Long-term immunosuppressive treatment does not efficiently prevent relapses of lupus nephritis (LN). This investigator-initiated randomised trial tested whether mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) was superior to azathioprine (AZA) as maintenance treatment.
A total of 105 patients with lupus with proliferative LN were included. All received three daily intravenous pulses of 750 mg methylprednisolone, followed by oral glucocorticoids and six fortnightly cyclophosphamide intravenous pulses of 500 mg. Based on randomisation performed at baseline, AZA (target dose: 2 mg/kg/day) or MMF (target dose: 2 g/day) was given at week 12. Analyses were by intent to treat. Time to renal flare was the primary end point. Mean (SD) follow-up of the intent-to-treat population was 48 (14) months.
The baseline clinical, biological and pathological characteristics of patients allocated to AZA or MMF did not differ. Renal flares were observed in 13 (25%) AZA-treated and 10 (19%) MMF-treated patients. Time to renal flare, to severe systemic flare, to benign flare and to renal remission did not statistically differ. Over a 3-year period, 24 h proteinuria, serum creatinine, serum albumin, serum C3, haemoglobin and global disease activity scores improved similarly in both groups. Doubling of serum creatinine occurred in four AZA-treated and three MMF-treated patients. Adverse events did not differ between the groups except for haematological cytopenias, which were statistically more frequent in the AZA group (p=0.03) but led only one patient to drop out.
Fewer renal flares were observed in patients receiving MMF but the difference did not reach statistical significance.
During the last five decades, long-term therapy with immunosuppressive agents such as pulse cyclophosphamide in conjunction with high-dose corticosteroids has enhanced both patient survival and renal survival in patients with diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis. Nevertheless, severe side effects such as infectious complications remain the main cause of morbidity and mortality. Central nervous system aspergillosis is uncommon but life-threatening in lupus patients. In this single-patient case study, carotid aneurysm with sphenoidal sinusitis was suspected when severe epistaxis occurred during cyclophosphamide pulse therapy. With anti-fungal therapy, a graft stent was successfully deployed to the aneurysm and specimens of sphenoidal mucosa showed typical hyphae, indicating aspergillosis. Three months after stopping voriconazole treatment, two cerebral aneurysms that were revealed on MR images were successfully removed by aneurysmal clipping. The patient remained alive at one-year follow-up with lupus nephritis in remission. The rarity and high mortality of aspergillus-related fungal aneurysms have led to most cases being recognized postmortem. However, such aneurysms must be diagnosed early to prevent fatal complications by performing appropriate management such as surgical procedure or endovascular intervention.
Lupus Nephritis; Neuroaspergillosis; Intracranial Aneurysm; Voriconazole; Endovascular Procedure
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a potentially fatal non–organ-specific autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women. Features of the disease include inflammatory skin lesions and widespread organ damage caused by deposition of anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. The mechanism and site of production of these autoantibodies is unknown, but there is evidence that interferon (IFN) γ plays a key role. We have used the involucrin promoter to overexpress IFN-γ in the suprabasal layers of transgenic mouse epidermis. There was no evidence of organ-specific autoimmunity, but transgenic animals produced autoantibodies against dsDNA and histones. Autoantibody levels in female mice were significantly higher than in male transgenic mice. Furthermore, there was IgG deposition in the glomeruli of all female mice and histological evidence of severe proliferative glomerulonephritis in a proportion of these animals. Our findings are consistent with a central role for the skin immune system, acting under the influence of IFN-γ, in the pathogenesis of SLE.
A 16-year-old boy developed an immune complex illness associated with lung haemorrhage, proliferative nephritis with crescents and renal failure. Treatment with plasma exchange, haemodialysis and immunosuppressive drugs resulted in a rapid reduction in levels of immune complexes and other mediators of inflammation and was associated with good recovery of renal and lung function. Subsequently, deterioration in renal function occurred whilst the patient was on treatment with prednisolone alone but this was reversed with a short course of plasma exchange and the addition of azathioprine. No further deterioration in renal or lung function has been observed during 18 months treatment with azathioprine and prednisolone. Immediate plasma exchange and immunosuppressive drug treatment have been recommended for Goodpasture's syndrome. Immune complex mediated lung haemorrhage and nephritis is the main clinical differential diagnosis. Our case suggests that the same treatment is effective for both conditions if given early, and that detailed renal and immunological investigations should not be allowed to delay this.
Glomerulonephritis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Deposition of autoantibodies in the glomeruli plays a key role in the development of lupus nephritis (LN). Different groups have proposed that either anti-nucleosome antibodies or antibodies that bind the intrinsic renal antigen, α-actinin, are central to the pathogenesis of LN. These theories have been based mainly on cross-sectional studies in patients and on experiments in animal models. No previous longitudinal studies have compared the relationships between levels of these antibodies and markers of renal function. We assessed how well anti-α-actinin, anti-nucleosome and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies reflected renal outcome measures in patients with new-onset LN followed for up to 2 years.
Renal disease activity was monitored by measuring urine protein/creatinine ratio (PCR), serum albumin and a composite outcome of renal remission. At each time point, anti-nucleosome and anti-α-actinin antibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. High-avidity anti-dsDNA antibodies were measured using the Farrzyme assay. We analysed relationships between levels of the three antibodies and between antibody levels and renal outcome measures over time.
Levels of anti-nucleosome and anti-dsDNA were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.6, P = 0.0001) but neither correlated with anti-α-actinin level. At baseline, mean anti-nucleosome levels were higher in patients with LN than in healthy controls (0.32 versus 0.01, P < 0.001). The same was true for anti-dsDNA antibodies (0.50 versus 0.07, P < 0.001) but not for anti-α-actinin (0.33 versus 0.29). Over the follow-up period, anti-nucleosome and anti-dsDNA levels associated positively with urine PCR (P = 0.041 and 0.051, respectively) and negatively with serum albumin (P = 0.027 and 0.032, respectively). Both anti-nucleosome and anti-dsDNA levels were significantly lower during renal remission than when renal disease was active (P = 0.002 and 0.003, respectively). However, there was no relationship between anti-α-actinin levels and urine PCR, serum albumin or remission status.
This prospective longitudinal clinical study is the first to compare levels of anti-nucleosome, anti-dsDNA and anti-α-actinin antibodies in the same patients with SLE. Our results support the concept that, in the majority of patients, anti-nucleosome antibodies play a major role in pathogenesis of LN, in contrast to anti-α-actinin antibodies.
We investigated nationwide prevalence, incidence, and sociodemographics of SLE and lupus nephritis among Medicaid-enrolled children.
Children aged 3 to <18 years with SLE (≥3 International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, codes of 710.0, all >30 days apart) were identified from Medicaid Analytic eXtract data (2000–2004), containing all inpatient and outpatient Medicaid claims for 47 U. S states and the District of Columbia. Lupus nephritis was identified from ≥2 ICD-9 billing codes >30 days apart for glomerulonephritis, proteinuria or renal failure. We calculated prevalence and incidence of SLE and lupus nephritis among Medicaid-enrolled children overall and within sociodemographic groups.
Of 30,420,597 Medicaid-enrolled children during these years, 2,959 with SLE were identified. SLE prevalence was 9.73 (95% CI 9.38 – 10.08) per 100,000. Of these, 84% were female, 40% African-American, 25% Hispanic and 21% White; 42% resided in the South. 1,106 (37%) of children with SLE had lupus nephritis: prevalence 3.64 (95% CI 3.43 – 3.86) per 100,000. The average annual incidence of SLE was 2.22 (95% CI 2.05–2.40) and that of lupus nephritis was 0.72 (95%CI 0.63– 0.83) cases per 100,000 Medicaid enrollees per year. Prevalence and incidence rates of lupus and lupus nephritis increased with age, were higher in girls than boys, and in all non-White than White racial/ethnic groups.
SLE prevalence and incidence rates among Medicaid-enrolled children in the U.S. are high compared to studies in other populations. These represent the first population-based estimates of lupus nephritis prevalence and incidence in the U.S. to date.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; pediatric; nephritis; incidence; prevalence; Medicaid; children; disparities
While the role of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in the management of lupus nephritis has been increasingly recognized, limited information is available regarding its efficacy and safety as a long-term maintenance treatment. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety profile of MMF as maintenance therapy for proliferative lupus nephritis.
Thirty-three consecutive patients with proliferative lupus nephritis received induction therapy with five to seven monthly intravenous (iv) pulses of cyclophosphamide (CYC) plus iv steroids followed by oral MMF 2 g/day as maintenance therapy for a median time of 29 months (range 9 to 71 months). Primary end points were the achievement of renal remission, complete renal remission, disease remission - renal and extrarenal -, the occurrence of renal relapse, chronic renal failure and death. Secondary end points were the extrarenal disease activity and drug adverse events. The clinical and laboratory parameters were compared during follow-up by means of nonparametric statistical tests. Time to event analysis was performed according to the Kaplan-Meier method.
A significant improvement of all renal parameters was observed at the end of the induction treatment and at the latest follow-up compared to baseline. The rate of patients achieving renal remission until the end of follow-up was 73%, whereas that of complete renal remission was 58%. The median survival times in the Kaplan-Meier analyses were 7 and 16 months, respectively. Remission was maintained in all but four (12%) patients who relapsed within 19 to 39 months after initial response. At the end of follow-up, 51% of the patients had reached disease remission. The median survival time of disease remission was 18 months. Extrarenal manifestations were well controlled in most of the patients. In one patient receiving MMF, extrarenal activity led to treatment discontinuation. Non life-threatening drug adverse events developed in 18 patients (58%) and included infections, amenorrhea, myelotoxicity, gastrointestinal complications, hypercholesterolemia, alopecia and drug intolerance. None of the patients developed chronic renal insufficiency or died from any cause.
MMF appeared to be efficacious and safe as maintenance treatment for proliferative lupus nephritis.
The molecular pathogenesis of focal/diffuse proliferative lupus glomerulonephritis was studied by cDNA microarray analysis of gene expression in glomeruli from clinical biopsies. Transcriptional phenotyping of glomeruli isolated by laser-capture microscopy revealed considerable kidney-to-kidney heterogeneity in increased transcript expression, resulting in four main gene clusters that identified the presence of B cells, several myelomonocytic lineages, fibroblast and epithelial cell proliferation, matrix alterations, and expression of type I IFN–inducible genes. Glomerulus-to-glomerulus variation within a kidney was less marked. The myeloid lineage transcripts, characteristic of those found in isolated activated macrophages and myeloid dendritic cells, were widely distributed in all biopsy samples. One major subgroup of the samples expressed fibrosis-related genes that correlated with pathological evidence of glomerulosclerosis; however, decreased expression of TGF-β1 argued against its role in lupus renal fibrosis. Expression of type I IFN–inducible transcripts by a second subset of samples was associated with reduced expression of fibrosis-related genes and milder pathological features. This pattern of gene expression resembled that exhibited by activated NK cells. A large gene cluster with decreased expression found in all samples included ion channels and transcription factors, indicating a loss-of-function response to the glomerular injury.
Recent advances in the management of lupus nephritis, together with earlier renal biopsy and selective use of aggressive immunosuppressive therapy, have contributed to a favorable outcome in children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Nevertheless, we believe that a more effective and less toxic treatment is needed to attain an optimal control of the activity of lupus nephritis. Recent published papers and our experiences regarding treatment of young patients with lupus nephritis using calcineurin inhibitors are reviewed. Although it has been reported that intermittent monthly pulses of intravenous cyclophosphamide (IVCY) are effective for preserving renal function in adult patients, CPA is a potent immunosuppressive agent that induces severe toxicity, including myelo- and gonadal toxicity, and increases the risk of secondary malignancy. Thus, treatment for controlling lupus nephritis activity, especially in children and adolescents, remains challenging. Cyclosporine A (CsA) and tacrolimus (Tac) are T-cell-specific calcineurin inhibitors that prevent the activation of helper T cells, thereby inhibiting the transcription of the early activation genes of interleukin (IL)-2 and suppressing T cell-induced activation of tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β and IL-6. Therefore, both drugs, which we believe may be less cytotoxic, are attractive therapeutic options for young patients with lupus nephritis. Recently, a multidrug regimen of prednisolone (PDN), Tac, and mycophenolate mofetile (MMF) has been found effective and relatively safe in adult lupus nephritis. Since the mechanisms of action of MMF and Tac are probably complementary, multidrug therapy for lupus nephritis may be useful. We propose as an alternative to IVCY, a multidrug therapy with mizoribine, which acts very similarly to MMF, and Tac, which has a different mode of action, combined with PDN for pediatric-onset lupus nephritis. We also believe that a multidrug therapy including CsA and Tac may be an attractive option for young patients with SLE and lupus nephritis
Calcineurin inhibitor; Cyclosporine A; Lupus nephritis; Multidrug therapy; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Tacrolimus
Introduction. The diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) can be difficult to establish because the musculoskeletal, central nervous system, and renal manifestations are similar in both diseases. In the presented case, we highlight the diagnostic challenge that can evolve in patients with a concurrence of both diseases and we establish the importance of early recognition and treatment of lupus nephritis in patients with SCD. Case Presentation. We present a case of a 31-year-old African American female with sickle-C disease (hemoglobin SC) who was admitted to our hospital with complaints of periumbilical abdominal pain associated with intractable nausea and vomiting, abdominal distension, and worsening lower extremity edema. Urine studies revealed nephrotic range proteinuria and the immunological investigations were consistent with lupus. A renal biopsy revealed focal proliferative lupus nephritis. Conclusion. It is important to consider the presence of a coexisting autoimmune disease in a patient with sickle hemoglobinopathy who displays an atypical and multisystem presentation that is unresponsive to conventional therapies. When a significant kidney disease is present, a renal biopsy is critical in identifying the etiology of a renal abnormality in the setting of coexisting SLE and SCD.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototype autoimmune disease that affects multiorgan systems. Lupus nephritis is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE whereby immune-mediated inflammation can lead to permanent damage within the glomerular, tubulo-interstitial, and vascular compartments of the kidney, resulting in acute or chronic renal failure. The mechanisms that regulate host inflammatory responses and tissue injury are incompletely understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that hyaluronan and its interaction with its cell surface receptor CD44 plays an important role in mediating pathogenic mechanisms in SLE. This paper discusses the putative mechanisms through which hyaluronan and CD44 contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE, with particular emphasis on lupus nephritis.
Crescentic nephritis is characterized by formation of cellular crescents that soon become fibrotic and result in irreversible damage, unless an effective immunosuppressive therapy is rapidly commenced. TGF-β1 is involved in the development of crescents through various pathways. The aim of this study was to identify whether the determination of urinary TGF-β1 levels in patients with crescentic nephritis could be used as a marker of response to treatment.
Fifteen patients with crescentic nephritis were included in the study. The renal expression of TGF-β1 was estimated in biopsy sections by immunohistochemistry and urinary TGF-β1 levels were determined by quantitative sandwich enzyme immunoassay (EIA). TGF-β1 levels were determined at the time of renal biopsy, before the initiation of immunosuppressive treatment (corticosteroids, cyclophosphamide and plasma exchange). Twelve patients with other types of proliferative glomerulonephritis and ten healthy subjects were used as controls.
Improvement of renal function with immunosuppressive therapy was observed in 6 and stabilization in 4 patients (serum creatinine from 3.2 ± 1.5 to 1.4 ± 0.1 mg/dl and from 4.4 ± 1.2 to 4.1 ± 0.6 mg/dl, respectively). In 5 patients, with severe impairment of renal function who started on dialysis, no improvement was noted. The main histological feature differentiating these 5 patients from others with improved or stabilized renal function was the percentage patients with poor response to treatment were the percentage of glomeruli with crescents and the presence of ruptured Bowman's capsule and glomerular necrosis. Urinary TGF-β1 levels were significantly higher in patients who showed no improvement of renal function with immunosuppressive therapy (930 ± 126 ng/24 h vs. 376 ± 84 ng/24 h, p < 0.01). TGF-β1 was identified in crescents and tubular epithelial cells, whereas a significant correlation of TGF-β1 immunostaining with the presence of fibrocellular cresents was observed (r = 0.531, p < 0,05).
Increased TGF-β1 renal expression and urinary excretion that is related to the response to immunosuppressive therapy was observed in patients with crescentic nephritis. Evaluation of urinary TGF-β1 levels may be proved a useful marker of clinical outcome in patients with crescentic nephritis.
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe complication of systemic lupus erythematosus. Data from national registries based on renal biopsies are scarce. The aim of our study was to analyze the demographic characteristics, clinicopathological correlations, and risk factors associated with renal failure in patients with LN at the time of renal biopsy.
We performed a cross-sectional observational study based on data from the Spanish Registry of Glomerulonephritis for the years 1994–2009. The outcome measure was the presence of renal failure (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2). We also recorded age, gender, proteinuria levels, hypertension, and histological class.
We collected 17,525 native renal biopsies, of which 1,648 biopsies showed LN lesions. In total, 609 patients (37%) showed renal failure at the time of renal biopsy. The univariate analysis showed that these patients were older, had higher levels of proteinuria, and a higher prevalence of hypertension than the group with eGFR ≥60 ml/min/ 1.73 m2. The histological class of LN was recorded for 566 patients, and multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the independent risk factors for renal failure at the time of renal biopsy were age (OR 1.03; 95% CI 1.01–1.04), male gender (OR 1.94; 95% CI 1.12–3.10), hypertension (OR 3.18; 95% CI 2.16–4.67), proteinuria (OR 1.15; 95% CI 1.08–1.24), and histological classes III and IV (OR 1.82; 95% CI 1.16–2.87).
Data from the Spanish Registry of Glomerulonephritis provide valuable information about risk factors for renal failure in patients with LN at the time of renal biopsy.
Lupus nephritis; Renal failure; Demographics; Risk factors; National registry data
Polymorphisms in the SLAM family of leukocyte cell surface regulatory molecules have been associated with lupus-like phenotypes in both humans and mice. The murine Slamf gene cluster lies within the lupus-associated Sle1b region of mouse chromosome 1. Non-autoreactive C57BL/6 (B6) mice that have had this region replaced by syntenic segments from other mouse strains (i.e. 129, NZB and NZW) are B6 congenic strains that spontaneously produce non-nephritogenic lupus-like autoantibodies. We have recently reported that genetic ablation of the SLAM family member CD48 (Slamf2) drives full-blown autoimmune disease with severe proliferative glomerulonephritis (CD48GN) in B6 mice carrying 129 sequences of the Sle1b region (B6.129CD48-/-). We also discovered that BALB/c mice with the same 129-derived CD48-null allele (BALB.129CD48-/-) have neither nephritis nor anti-DNA autoantibodies, indicating that strain specific background genes modulate the effects of CD48 deficiency. Here we further examine this novel model of lupus nephritis in which CD48 deficiency transforms benign autoreactivity into fatal nephritis. CD48GN is characterized by glomerular hypertrophy with mesangial expansion, proliferation and leukocytic infiltration. Immune complexes deposit in mesangium and in sub-endothelial, sub-epithelial and intramembranous sites along the glomerular basement membrane. Afflicted mice have low grade proteinuria, intermittent hematuria and their progressive renal injury manifests with elevated urine NGAL levels and with uremia. In contrast to the lupus-like B6.129CD48-/- animals, neither BALB.129CD48-/- mice nor B6 × BALB/c F1.129CD48-/- progeny have autoimmune traits, indicating that B6-specific background genes modulate the effect of CD48 on lupus nephritis in a recessive manner.
CD48(Slamf2); lupus nephritis; anti-DNA autoantibodies; systemic lupus erythematosus; murine lupus; Sle1b
A 78 year old man presented with acute renal failure following a prolonged respiratory illness. A renal biopsy demonstrated severe suppurative interstitial nephritis with normal glomeruli. After nine weeks of antibiotics he remained anuric and a second biopsy demonstrated pauci-immune, necrotising glomerulonephritis. His subsequent clinical course was consistent with a diagnosis of Wegener's granulomatosis and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) were detected. This is the first reported case of Wegener's granulomatosis presenting with an isolated tubulointerstitial lesion.
Key Words: antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody • pyelonephritis • Wegener's granulomatosis
Background and Objectives
Lupus nephritis (LN) is an ominous complication of Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the risk factors for the disease progression are not very well characterized.
Design, Setting, Participants and measurements
In a retrospective study, we evaluated the mode of presentation and outcomes of 163 consecutive patients with biopsy proven LN, who presented to our center between January 1999 and September 2008. Using stepwise logistic regression analysis we assessed risk factors independently associated with response to treatment as well as to progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD) in proliferative LN (PLN).
Ninety percent of our patients belonged to minority population. Among 122 patients with class III and IV LN (PLN), 76 patients received intravenous cyclophosphamide (IVC) and 38 mycophenolate for induction while 34 patients received IVC, and 63 mycophenolate for maintenance. Thirty six (30%) patients with PLN progressed to ESRD and 3 patients died over a mean follow-up of 37.5 months. On multivariate analysis, chronicity index (CI) (p=0.0007) and hypertension (p=0.042) positively correlated with progression to ESRD and death and CI was associated with increased probability of non-response to treatment (p=0.001). Additionally, mycophenolate as maintenance agent was associated with increased likelihood of sustained complete remission and partial remission [p=0.045].
In patients with LN, Hypertension and a high CI are independent risk factors for progression to ESRD or death. Furthermore, a high CI is associated with poor response and mycophenolate as a maintenance agent may improve the response to treatment.
lupus nephritis; outcomes; lupus; SLE; LN