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
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.
To assess if hydroxychloroquine can delay renal damage development in lupus nephritis patients.
Lupus nephritis patients (n=256) from LUMINA (n=635), a multiethnic cohort of African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians, age ≥16 years, disease duration ≤5 years at baseline (T0) were studied. Renal damage was defined per the SLICC Damage Index (≥1 of the following lasting at least six months: estimated/measured glomerular filtration rate <50%, 24-hour proteinuria ≥3.5 g and/or end-stage renal disease, regardless of dialysis or transplantation). Patients with renal damage before T0 were excluded (n=53). The association between hydroxychloroquine use and renal damage (as defined, or omitting proteinuria) was estimated using Cox proportional regression analyses adjusting for potentially confounders. Kaplan-Meier survival curves based on hydroxychloroquine intake or World Health Organization (WHO) Class glomerulonephritis were also derived.
Sixty-three (31.0%) of 203 patients developed renal damage over a mean (standard deviation) disease duration of 5.2 (3.5) years. The most frequent renal damage domain item was proteinuria. Hydroxychloroquine-takers (79.3%) exhibited a lower frequency of WHO Class IV glomerulonephritis, lower disease activity and received lower glucocorticoid doses than non-takers. After adjusting for confounders, hydroxychloroquine was protective of renal damage occurrence in full (HR=0.12; 95% CI 0.02-0.97; p=0.0464) and reduced (HR=0.29; 95%CI 0.13-0.68; p=0.0043) models. Omitting proteinuria provided comparable results. The cumulative probability of renal damage occurrence was higher in hydroxychloroquine non-takers and in WHO Class IV glomerulonephritis (p<0.0001).
After adjusting for possible confounding factors the protective effect of hydroxychloroquine in retarding renal damage occurrence in SLE is still evident.
To determine if the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) due to lupus nephritis has decreased from 1996 to 2004.
Patients age 15 or older with incident ESRD due to lupus nephritis in 1996-2004 and living in one of the 50 United States (U.S.) or the District of Columbia were identified using the U.S Renal Data System, a national population-based registry of all patients receiving renal replacement therapy for ESRD. Incidence rates were computed for each calendar year, using population estimates of the U.S. census as denominators.
Over the 9 year study period, 9199 new cases of ESRD due to lupus nephritis were observed. Incidence rates, adjusted to the age-, sex- and race-composition of the U.S. population in 2000, were 4.4 per million in 1996 and 4.9 per million in 2004. Compared to the pooled incidence rate in 1996-1998, the relative risk of ESRD due to lupus nephritis in 1999-2000 was 0.99 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.93 – 1.06), in 2001-2002 was 0.99 (95% CI 0.92 – 1.06), and in 2003-2004 was 0.96 (95% CI 0.89 – 1.02). Findings were similar in analyses stratified by sex, age group, race, and socioeconomic status.
There was no decrease in the incidence of ESRD due to lupus nephritis between 1996 and 2004. This may reflect the limits of effectiveness of current treatments, or limitations in access, use, or adherence to treatment.
systemic lupus erythematosus; lupus nephritis; end-stage renal disease; incidence
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a classic antibody-mediated systemic autoimmune disease characterised by the development of autoantibodies to ubiquitous self-antigens (such as antinuclear antibodies and antidouble-stranded DNA antibodies) and widespread deposition of immune complexes in affected tissues. Deposition of immune complexes in the kidney results in glomerular damage and occurs in all forms of lupus nephritis. The development of nephritis carries a poor prognosis and high risk of developing end-stage renal failure despite recent therapeutic advances. Here we review the role of DNA-anti-DNA immune complexes in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis and possible new treatment strategies aimed at their control.
immune complex; systemic lupus erythematosus; nephritis; therapy
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.
African Americans (AA) disproportionately develop lupus nephritis (LN) relative to European Americans and familial clustering supports causative genes. Since MYH9 underlies approximately 40% of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in AA, we tested for genetic association with LN.
Seven MYH9 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the E1 risk haplotype were tested for association with LN in three cohorts of AA.
A preliminary analysis revealed that the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype was associated with ESRD in 25 cases with presumed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-associated ESRD, compared to 735 non-SLE controls (odds ratio 3.1; p = 0.010 recessive). Replication analyses were performed in 583 AA with SLE in the PROFILE cohort (318 with LN; 265 with SLE but without nephropathy) and 60 AA from the NIH (39 with LN; 21 with SLE but without nephropathy). Analysis of the NIH and larger PROFILE cohorts, as well as a combined analysis, did not support this association.
These results suggest that AA with ESRD and coincident SLE who were recruited from dialysis clinics more likely have kidney diseases in the MYH9-associated spectrum of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. PROFILE and NIH participants, recruited from rheumatology practices, demonstrate that MYH9 does not contribute substantially to the development of LN in AA.
African Americans; Genetics; Lupus nephritis; Kidney; MYH9; Systemic lupus erythematosus
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
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.
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.
The present review focuses on pathogenic molecular and transcriptional events in patients with lupus nephritis. These factors are renal DNaseI, exposed chromatin fragments and the corresponding chromatin-reactive autoantibodies. Lupus nephritis is the most serious complication in human systemic lupus erythematosus, and is characterised by deposition of chromatin fragment-IgG complexes in the mesangial matrix and glomerular basement membranes. The latter deposition defines end-stage disease. This event is stringently linked to a renal-restricted shutdown of expression of the DNaseI gene, as determined by loss of DNaseI mRNA level and DNaseI enzyme activity. The major aim of the present review is to generate new therapeutic strategies based on new insight into the disease pathogenesis.
Lupus nephritis is characterized by deposition of chromatin fragment-IgG complexes in the mesangial matrix and glomerular basement membranes (GBM). The latter defines end-stage disease.
In the present study we determined the impact of antibodies to dsDNA, renal Dnase1 and matrix metalloprotease (MMP) mRNA levels and enzyme activities on early and late events in murine lupus nephritis. The major focus was to analyse if these factors were interrelated, and if changes in their expression explain basic processes accounting for lupus nephritis.
Early phases of nephritis were associated with chromatin-IgG complex deposition in the mesangial matrix. A striking observation was that this event correlated with appearance of anti-dsDNA antibodies and mild or clinically silent nephritis. These events preceded down-regulation of renal Dnase1. Later, renal Dnase1 mRNA level and enzyme activity were reduced, while MMP2 mRNA level and enzyme activity increased. Reduced levels of renal Dnase1 were associated in time with deficient fragmentation of chromatin from dead cells. Large fragments were retained and accumulated in GBM. Also, since chromatin fragments are prone to stimulate Toll-like receptors in e.g. dendritic cells, this may in fact explain increased expression of MMPs.
These scenarios may explain the basis for deposition of chromatin-IgG complexes in glomeruli in early and late stages of nephritis, loss of glomerular integrity and finally renal failure.
Mechanisms that initiate lupus nephritis and cause progression to end-stage renal disease remain poorly understood. In this study, we show that lupus-prone New Zealand Mixed 2410 mice that develop a severe glomerulosclerosis and rapidly progressive renal disease overexpress IL-4 in vivo. In these mice, STAT6 deficiency or anti-IL-4 Ab treatment decreases type 2 cytokine responses and ameliorates kidney disease, particularly glomerulosclerosis, despite the presence of high levels of IgG anti-dsDNA Abs. STAT4 deficiency, however, decreases type 1 and increases type 2 cytokine responses, and accelerates nephritis, in the absence of high levels of IgG anti-dsDNA Abs. Thus, STAT6 and IL-4 may selectively contribute to the development of glomerulosclerosis, whereas STAT4 may play a role in autoantibody production.
Many studies have compared patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) on renal replacement therapy (RRT) with non-lupus patients. However, few data are available on the long-term outcome of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) secondary to SLE who are managed by different types of RRTs.
We conducted a retrospective multicenter study on 59 patients with ESRD who underwent maintenance RRT between 1990 and 2007 for SLE. Of these patients, 28 underwent hemodialysis (HD), 14 underwent peritoneal dialysis (PD), and 17 patients received kidney transplantation (KT). We analyzed the clinical outcomes in these patients to determine the best treatment modality.
The mean follow-up period was 5 ± 3 years in the HD group, 5 ± 3 years in the PD group, and 10 ± 5 years in the KT group (p = 0.005). Disease flare-up was more common in the HD group than in the KT group (p = 0.012). Infection was more common in the PD and HD groups than in the KT group (HD vs. KT, p = 0.027; PD vs. KT, p = 0.033). Cardiovascular complications were more common in the HD group than in the other groups (p = 0.049). Orthopedic complications were more common in the PD group than in the other groups (p = 0.028). Bleeding was more common in the HD group than in the other groups (p = 0.026). Patient survival was greater in the KT group than in the HD group (p = 0.029). Technique survival was lower in the PD group than in the HD group (p = 0.019).
Among patients with ESRD secondary to SLE, KT had better patient survival and lower complication rates than HD and lower complication rates than PD. The prognosis between the HD and PD groups was similar. We conclude that if KT is not a viable treatment option, any alternative treatment should take into account the patient's general condition and preference.
Lupus erythematosus, systemic; Kidney transplantation; Hemodialysis; Peritoneal dialysis
Recent studies demonstrate that transformation of mild lupus nephritis into end-stage disease is imposed by silencing of renal DNaseI gene expression in (NZBxNZW)F1 mice. Down-regulation of DNaseI results in reduced chromatin fragmentation, and in deposition of extracellular chromatin-IgG complexes in glomerular basement membranes in individuals that produce IgG anti-chromatin antibodies. The main focus of the present study is to describe the biological consequences of renal DNaseI shut-down and reduced chromatin fragmentation with a particular focus on whether exposed large chromatin fragments activate Toll like receptors and the necrosis-related Clec4e receptor in murine and human lupus nephritis. Furthermore, analyses where performed to determine if matrix metalloproteases are up-regulated as a consequence of chromatin-mediated Toll like receptors/Clec4e stimulation. Mouse and human mRNA expression levels of DNaseI, Toll like receptors 7–9, Clec4e, pro-inflammatory cytokines and MMP2/MMP9 were determined and compared with in situ protein expression profiles and clinical data. We demonstrate that exposure of chromatin significantly up-regulate Toll like receptors and Clec4e in mice, and also but less pronounced in patients with lupus nephritis treated with immunosuppresants. In conclusion, silencing of renal DNaseI gene expression initiates a cascade of inflammatory signals leading to progression of both murine and human lupus nephritis. Principal component analyses biplot of data from murine and human lupus nephrits demonstrate the importance of DNaseI gene shut down for progression of the organ disease.
The diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) depends on clinical evidence of renal, rheumatologic, cutaneous, and neurologic involvement, supported by serological markers. A previously healthy 14-year-old girl presented with Libman-Sacks endocarditis involving the aortic valve as the first manifestation of SLE. Even though she did not satisfy the American College of Rheumatology criteria for diagnosing SLE, she had anemia, proteinuria, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, low complement 4 (C4) levels, and strongly positive antinuclear antibody titer. A renal biopsy showed stage IV lupus nephritis. Treatment was initiated with immunosuppressants and steroids. This type of presentation may be misdiagnosed as infective endocarditis missing the underlying collagen vascular disease.
Infective endocarditis; Libman-Sacks endocarditis; systemic lupus erythematosus
It is unknown whether recent advances lupus nephritis (LN) treatment have led to changes in the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) secondary to LN, or in the characteristics, therapies, and outcomes of patients with LN ESRD.
Patients with incident LN ESRD (1995–2006) were identified in the US Renal Datasystem. Trends in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were assessed. We tested for temporal changes in standardized incidence rates (SIRs) for sociodemographic groups using Poisson regression. Changes in rates of waitlisting for kidney transplant, kidney transplantation, and all-cause mortality were examined using crude and adjusted time-to-event analyses.
12,344 incident cases of LN ESRD were identified. Mean age at ESRD onset was 41 years; 81.6% were female and 49.5% African American. SIRs for LN ESRD among those ages 5–39, African Americans, and in the US Southeast increased significantly from 1995–2006. Increases in body mass index and the prevalence of both diabetes and hypertension were detected. Mean serum hemoglobin at ESRD onset increased, while that of serum creatinine decreased over time. More patients used hemodialysis and fewer peritoneal dialysis. There was a slight increase in pre-emptive kidney transplantation at ESRD onset, but kidney transplantation rates within the first three years of ESRD declined. Mortality did not change over 12 years of study.
The characteristics of LN ESRD patients and their initial therapies have changed in recent years. While SIRs rose in younger patients, among African Americans and in the South, outcomes did not improve in over a decade of evaluation.
incidence; dialysis; transplantation; survival; lupus; nephritis; end-stage renal disease; chronic kidney disease; systemic lupus erythematosus; African American; Hispanic; race; women
Interstitial nephritis is an inflammatory process within the renal interstitium, and was one of the first observations made in the description of renal histopathology. Many different conditions are associated with an interstitial nephritis, and as a clinical diagnosis the term has little use unless causation is defined. However, there has been recent interest in the possibility of a common mechanism causing irreversible renal damage and eventually renal failure in many different types of interstitial nephritis. Such damage could take place due to blood-borne inflammatory mediators, or could be due to renal tubular inflammation related to abnormal components of the glomerular filtrate in renal failure, such as proteins or lipids. If such research were to result in effective therapy for interstitial nephritis, the progression of many forms of renal disease to end stage renal failure could be ameliorated.
Kidney disease is one of the most serious manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite the improvement in the medical care of SLE in the past two decades, the prognosis of lupus nephritis remains unsatisfactory. Besides exploring more effective but less toxic treatment modalities that will further improve the remission rate, early detection and treatment of renal activity may spare patients from intensive immunosuppressive therapies and reduce renal damage. Conventional clinical parameters such as creatinine clearance, proteinuria, urine sediments, anti-dsDNA, and complement levels are not sensitive or specific enough for detecting ongoing disease activity in the lupus kidneys and early relapse of nephritis. Thus, novel biomarkers are necessary to enhance the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity of lupus renal disease, prognostic stratification, monitoring of treatment response, and detection of early renal flares. This paper reviews promising biomarkers that have recently been evaluated in longitudinal studies of lupus nephritis.
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
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.
Reactive intermediate production is an essential component of the innate immune response that is induced during disease activity in murine lupus. This study was undertaken to determine whether a marker of systemic nitric oxide (NO) production correlates with prospectively studied disease activity in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis patients.
Eighty-three SLE patients and 40 control subjects were studied longitudinally. The SLE group included 23 patients with lupus nephritis documented by renal biopsy and 26 with a history of lupus nephritis. During each visit, following a 24-hour low-nitrate diet, traditional markers of disease activity and damage were determined. Serum nitrate plus nitrite (NOx) levels were determined by chemiluminescence detection.
NOx levels were higher in SLE patients than in controls during the first visit. In univariate longitudinal analyses, NOx levels were associated with SLE Disease Activity Index scores. In multivariate analyses, NOx levels were associated with serum levels of C3 and creatinine and the urinary protein:creatinine ratio. Among patients with lupus nephritis, those with proliferative lesions had higher NOx levels, and higher NOx levels were associated with accumulation of renal damage and lack of response to therapy.
This is the first study to prospectively demonstrate longitudinal associations between serum NOx levels and markers of SLE and lupus nephritis disease activity. The more pronounced association with proliferative lupus nephritis and with longitudinal response to lupus nephritis therapy provides a rationale for the study of reactive intermediates as biomarkers of disease activity and therapeutic targets in proliferative lupus nephritis.
Renal involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus in the form of severe lupus nephritis is associated with a significant burden of morbidity and mortality. Conventional laboratory biomarkers in current use have not been very successful in anticipating disease flares, predicting renal histology, or decreasing unwanted outcomes. Since early treatment is associated with improved clinical results, it is thus essential to identify new biomarkers with substantial predictive power to reduce the serious sequelae of this difficult to control lupus manifestation. Indeed, considerable efforts and progress have been made over the last few years in the search for novel biomarkers. Since urinary biomarkers are more easily obtainable with much less risk to the patient than repeat renal biopsies, and these may more accurately discern between renal disease and other organ manifestations than their serum counterparts, there has been tremendous interest in studying new candidate urine biomarkers. Below, we review several promising urinary biomarkers under investigation, including total proteinuria and microalbuminuria, urinary proteomic signatures, and the individual inflammatory mediators interleukin-6, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, CXCL16, IP-10, and tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis.
Biomarkers; Lupus nephritis; Urinary biomarkers; Proteomics; TWEAK; SLE
Signaling through Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9), a mediator of innate immune responses, could have a role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Some studies have shown an association between polymorphisms in the TLR9 gene and disease manifestations. We investigated whether two single nucleotide polymorphisms (-1486 T>C and +1174 G>A) in the TLR9 gene are associated with the risk of renal involvement in SLE. DNA samples from 112 SLE patients (62 with lupus nephritis) and 100 healthy controls were obtained. TLR9 polymorphisms (-1486 T>C and +1174 G>A) were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism. Genotype and allelic frequencies were compared between lupus patients and healthy controls. Clinical and laboratory manifestations and activity scores on renal biopsy of patients with lupus nephritis were compared between various genotypes. There was no difference in the frequency of genotype or allele distribution at either of the two loci between lupus patients and controls and in lupus patients with or without nephritis. Patients with CC/CT genotype at the -1486 position had higher serum creatinine (P = 0.03) and Austin activity scores (P = 0.015). Patients with AA/AG genotype at +1174 position showed higher serum creatinine (P = 0.04), proteinuria (P = 0.011), anti-dsDNA titers (P < 0.001) and Austin activity scores (P = 0.003) than the GG genotype. Variations at the -1486 and +1174 positions of TLR9 gene are not associated with increased risk of SLE or that of kidney involvement in North Indians. CC/CT genotypes at -1486 and AA/AG at +1174 positions are associated with more severe kidney disease at presentation.
Genetics; lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; toll-like receptor
A growing body of literature has documented the elevated levels of the alarmin HMGB1 in lupus skin and serum. Two recent reports highlight the increased expression of HMGB1 in lupus nephritis, within the diseased kidneys or in the urine. Taken together with previous reports, these findings suggest that the interaction of HMGB1 with a variety of receptors, including receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and Toll-like receptors, might play a role in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. These studies introduce urinary HMGB1 as a novel biomarker candidate in lupus nephritis. Whether alarmins would be effective in sounding the alarm at the incipience of renal damage remains to be ascertained.