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Concept: Glomerulonephritis

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Alport syndrome is a hereditary glomerulopathy with proteinuria and nephritis caused by defects in genes encoding type IV collagen in the glomerular basement membrane. All male and most female patients develop end-stage renal disease. Effective treatment to stop or decelerate the progression of proteinuria and nephritis is still under investigation. Here we showed that combination treatment of mild electrical stress (MES) and heat stress (HS) ameliorated progressive proteinuria and renal injury in mouse model of Alport syndrome. The expressions of kidney injury marker neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β were suppressed by MES+HS treatment. The anti-proteinuric effect of MES+HS treatment is mediated by podocytic activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase (PI3K)-Akt and heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72)-dependent pathways in vitro and in vivo. The anti-inflammatory effect of MES+HS was mediated by glomerular activation of c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase ½ (JNK1/2) and p38-dependent pathways ex vivo. Collectively, our studies show that combination treatment of MES and HS confers anti-proteinuric and anti-inflammatory effects on Alport mice likely through the activation of multiple signaling pathways including PI3K-Akt, Hsp72, JNK1/2, and p38 pathways, providing a novel candidate therapeutic strategy to decelerate the progression of patho-phenotypes in Alport syndrome.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Collagen, Glomerulus, In vivo, In vitro, Glomerulonephritis, Alport syndrome

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BACKGROUND: Pathologic studies played an important role in evaluating patients with Alport syndrome besides genotyping. Difficulties still exist in diagnosing Alport syndrome (AS), and misdiagnosis is a not-so-rare event, even in adult patient evaluated with renal biopsy. METHODS: We used nested case–control study to investigate 52 patients previously misdiagnosed and 52 patients initially diagnosed in the China Alport Syndrome Treatments and Outcomes Registry e-system. RESULTS: We found mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (MsPGN, 26.9%) and focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS, 19.2%) were the most common misdiagnosis. FSGS was the most frequent misdiagnosis in female X-linked AS (fXLAS) patients (34.8%), and MsPGN in male X-linked AS (mXLAS) patients (41.2%). Previous misdiagnosed mXLAS patients (13/17, 76.5%) and autosomal recessive AS (ARAS) patients (8/12, 66.7%) were corrected after a second renal biopsy. While misdiagnosed fXLAS patients (18/23, 78.3%) were corrected after a family member diagnosed (34.8%) or after rechecking electronic microscopy and/or collagen-IV alpha-chains immunofluresence study (COL-IF) (43.5%) during follow-up. With COL-IF as an additional criterion for AS diagnosis, we found that patients with less than 3 criteria reached have increased risk of misdiagnosis (3.29-fold for all misdiagnosed AS patients and 3.90-fold for fXLAS patients). CONCLUSION: We emphasize timely and careful study of electronic microscopy and COL-IF in pathologic evaluation of AS patients. With renal and/or skin COL-IF as additional criterion, 3 diagnosis criteria reached are the cutoff for diagnosing AS pathologically.

Concepts: Medical terms, Diagnosis, Pathology, Medical diagnosis, Glomerulonephritis, Sex linkage, Dominance, Alport syndrome

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Kawasaki disease (KD) is a systemic vasculitis and affects many organ systems. It often presents sterile pyuria, microscopic hematuria, and proteinuria due to renal involvement. The aims of this study were to define clinical characteristics of acute KD patients with pyuria and to analyze meaning of pyuria in KD.

Concepts: Nephrology, Vasculitis, Nephrotic syndrome, Arthralgia, Glomerulonephritis, Kawasaki disease, Urinalysis, IgA nephropathy

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Lupus nephritis is a common and severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus, and an important cause of both acute kidney injury and end-stage renal disease. Despite its aggressive course, lupus nephritis is amenable to treatment in the majority of patients. The paradigm of immunosuppressive treatment for lupus nephritis has evolved over the past few decades from corticosteroids alone to corticosteroids combined with cyclophosphamide. Sequential treatment regimens using various agents have been formulated for induction and long-term maintenance therapy, and mycophenolate mofetil has emerged as a standard of care option for both induction and maintenance immunosuppressive treatment. The current era has witnessed the emergence of multiple novel therapeutic options, such as calcineurin inhibitors and biologic agents that target key pathogenetic mechanisms of lupus nephritis. Clinical outcomes have improved in parallel with these therapeutic advances. This Review discusses the evidence in support of current standard of care immunosuppressive treatments and emerging therapies, and describes their roles and relative merits in the management of patients with lupus nephritis.

Concepts: Nephrology, Corticosteroid, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Immunosuppressive drug, Lupus nephritis, Cyclophosphamide, Mycophenolic acid

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B cells contribute to multiple aspects of autoimmune disorders and may play a role in triggering disease. Thus, targeting B cells may be a promising strategy for treating autoimmune disorders. Better understanding of the B cell subsets that are responsible for the development of autoimmunity will be critical for developing efficient therapies. Here we have reported that B cells expressing the transcription factor T-bet promote the rapid appearance of autoantibodies and germinal centers in spontaneous murine models of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Conditional deletion of T-bet from B cells impaired the formation of germinal centers and mitigated the development of kidney damage and rapid mortality in SLE mice. B cell-specific deletion of T-bet was also associated with lower activation of both B cells and T cells. Taken together, our results suggest that targeting T-bet-expressing B cells may be a potential target for therapy for autoimmune diseases.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Autoimmune diseases, Sjögren's syndrome, Myasthenia gravis

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Background: A multicenter case-control study on IgA nephropathy (IgAN) was conducted to develop an evidence-based clinicopathologic classification of IgAN for predicting long-term renal outcome. Methods: Two hundred and eighty-seven patients including those with isolated hematuria or very mild proteinuria were enrolled. During a median follow-up of 9.3 years after biopsy, 49 patients (17%) progressed to end stage renal disease (ESRD). The associations between pathological variables and the need for chronic dialysis was examined by multivariate logistic regression analysis separately in patients who required dialysis earlier than 5 years (Early Progressors) and those who required dialysis within 5 to 10 years (Late Progressors) after biopsy. Results: Independent pathological variables predicting progression to ESRD were global sclerosis, segmental sclerosis and fibrous crescents for Early Progressors, and global sclerosis and cellular/fibrocellular crescents for Late Progressors. Four histological grades, HG 1, HG 2, HG 3 and HG 4, were established corresponding to <25%, 25-49%, 50-74% and =75% of glomeruli exhibiting cellular or fibrocellular crescents, global sclerosis, segmental sclerosis or fibrous crescents. Eleven (7%) patients in HG 1, 12 (16%) in HG 2, 13 (31%) in HG 3 and 13 (68%) in HG 4 progressed to ESRD. Multivariate logistic analysis revealed that the risk of progression to ESRD was significantly higher in HG 2, 3 and 4 than in HG 1 (odds ratio, 2.4, 5.7 and 27.6 vs. 1.0). Conclusions: Our evidence-based histologic classification can identify the magnitude of the risk of progression to ESRD and is useful for predicting long-term renal outcome in IgAN.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Nephrology, Cancer, Glomerulonephritis, IgA nephropathy

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INTRODUCTION: Among various lupus renal vascular changes, thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) presented with 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. METHODS: Clinical and renal histopathological data of 148 patients with biopsy-proven lupus nephritis were retrospectively analyzed. Serum complement factor H, ADAMTS-13 activity, antiphospholipid antibodies and C4d deposition on renal vessels were further detected and analyzed. RESULTS: 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 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, 86-215 vs. 81, 68-112 mumol/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 non-TMA group. Renal TMA (hazard ratio (HR): 2.772, 95% confidence interval: 1.009-7.617, 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 TMA group (P=0.007). CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Complement system, Thrombocytopenia, Lupus nephritis, Antiphospholipid syndrome

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototype autoimmune disease characterized by systemic inflammation and autoantibody production. Anti-MBL autoantibodies have been studied in SLE for their possible effect on MBL levels and functional activity. This study aimed at detection of anti-MBL autoantibodies in Indian SLE patients and evaluates their relationship with related immunological parameters. Two hundred diagnosed SLE patients from Western India were included in the study where 87 patients were lupus nephritis (LN) (43.5 %) and remaining (56.5 %) were non-LN. Disease activity was assessed using the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Anti-MBL autoantibodies to IgG and IgM isotypes, anti-C1q autoantibodies, MBL levels and circulating immune complex levels were detected by ELISA. C3, C4 and CRP levels were detected by nephelometer. Anti-MBL autoantibodies were detected in 52 % SLE patients, where 55 % had IgG-anti-MBL, 33.8 % had IgM-anti-MBL and 11.3 % had both subclasses. Low MBL levels were present in 64.4 % anti-MBL positives as compared with 61.5 % in anti-MBL negatives. Among anti-MBL positives, 74 % had anti-C1q antibodies, whereas 41.7 % of anti-MBL negatives had anti-C1q autoantibodies (p = 3.45E06). An inverse correlation was observed between serum MBL and CIC levels. A statistically significant difference was noted between anti-MBL positives and anti-MBL negative patients with hsCRP levels (p = 0.002). Occurrence of infections was higher among anti-MBL positives (65 %) as compared with anti-MBL negatives (35 %). The difference between SLEDAI scores among anti-MBL positive and negative groups was statistically insignificant. Anti-MBL autoantibodies in SLE patients can influence functional activity of MBL and have a significant role in SLE disease pathogenesis.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Lupus nephritis, Cyclophosphamide

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Renal involvement with significant organ damage is common in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV). As a result, it is independently referred to ANCA-associated renal vasculitis. Clinically, ANCA-associated renal vasculitis is characterized by rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Pathologically, it is defined by pauci-immune type necrotizing and crescentic glomerulonephritis. According to previous reports from all over the world, the etiology, prevalence, and prognosis of RPGN including ANCA-associated renal vasculitis varies among races and periods. To elucidate the clinical characteristics of Japanese RPGN patients, a registry derived from a questionnaire survey was established in 1999 and maintained until 2006. As a result, 1,772 cases were collected, analyzed, and reported previously. In this mini-review, we outline the characteristic clinical findings of Japanese patients (Asian) with ANCA-associated renal vasculitis, based on the registry data.

Concepts: Inflammation, Kidney, Glomerulonephritis, Windows Registry, Kidney diseases, Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, Real estate, IgA nephropathy

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease characterized by the formation of anti-nuclear autoantibodies, particularly anti-chromatin. Although the aetiology of the disease has not yet been fully elucidated, several mechanisms have been proposed to be involved. Due to an aberrant apoptosis or decreased removal of apoptotic cells, apoptotic blebs containing chromatin are released. During apoptosis, chromatin is modified that increases its immunogenicity. Myeloid dendritic cells (myDC) can take up apoptotic blebs and stimulate autoreactive T helper cells, and subsequently the formation of autoantibodies by autoreactive B cells. Immune complexes formed by anti-chromatin autoantibodies and modified chromatin deposit on basal membranes, and incite a local inflammation, but can also stimulate plasmacytoid dendritic cells to produce IFN-α. In addition to apoptotic blebs, neutrophil extracellular traps released by dying neutrophils, in a process called NETosis, may serve as a source of autoantigens as well. In this review, we describe the role of both apoptosis and NETosis in the pathogenesis of SLE, and show how both processes may interact with each other.

Concepts: Immune system, Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Autoimmune diseases, Sjögren's syndrome