Achieve Mastery of Medical Concepts

Study for medical school and boards with Lecturio

Diffuse Proliferative Glomerulonephritis

Diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis (DPGN) is a histopathologic classification of glomerulonephritis (GN) characterized by an increased cellular proliferation affecting > 50% of the glomeruli. Mesangial, endothelial, and epithelial cells are notably increased. The most common causes are lupus nephritis class IV and IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease) is a renal disease characterized by IgA deposition in the mesangium. It is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis in most developed countries. Patients frequently present in the second and third decades of life and, historically, with a preceding upper respiratory or GI infection. IgA Nephropathy. Individuals may present with symptoms related to the renal disease, such as fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia, nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia, hematuria Hematuria Presence of blood in the urine. Renal Cell Carcinoma, proteinuria Proteinuria The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of kidney diseases. Nephrotic Syndrome in Children, hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension, and edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema. Other manifestations related to the underlying disease can be present. Diagnosis is made by laboratory tests, renal imaging Renal imaging The renal system is composed of 2 kidneys, 2 ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. Varying conditions such as infections, cysts, solid masses, ischemia, and mechanical obstruction can affect the renal system. Evaluation of diseases rely on imaging methods such as radiography, ultrasonography, CT, and MRI. Some of these are also used to guide tissue sampling (e.g., renal biopsy). Imaging of the Urinary System, and renal biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma. Microscopic findings show hypercellularity of mesangial and endothelial cells, with capillary loop thickening. Early aggressive therapy is indicated and is based on the specific etiology.

Last updated: Aug 26, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis (DPGN), a histopathologic classification of glomerulonephritis (GN) commonly associated with autoimmune diseases Autoimmune diseases Disorders that are characterized by the production of antibodies that react with host tissues or immune effector cells that are autoreactive to endogenous peptides. Selective IgA Deficiency, is characterized by an increased cellular proliferation affecting > 50% of the glomeruli.

  • Mesangial, epithelial, endothelial, and inflammatory cells are increased in the glomeruli.
  • Can progress to rapidly progressive GN

Etiology

  • Lupus nephritis class IV is the most common cause of DPGN.
  • IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease) is a renal disease characterized by IgA deposition in the mesangium. It is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis in most developed countries. Patients frequently present in the second and third decades of life and, historically, with a preceding upper respiratory or GI infection. IgA Nephropathy
  • Anti–glomerular basement membrane Basement membrane A darkly stained mat-like extracellular matrix (ecm) that separates cell layers, such as epithelium from endothelium or a layer of connective tissue. The ecm layer that supports an overlying epithelium or endothelium is called basal lamina. Basement membrane (bm) can be formed by the fusion of either two adjacent basal laminae or a basal lamina with an adjacent reticular lamina of connective tissue. Bm, composed mainly of type IV collagen; glycoprotein laminin; and proteoglycan, provides barriers as well as channels between interacting cell layers. Thin Basement Membrane Nephropathy (TBMN) (GBM) disease 
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
  • Microscopic polyangiitis Microscopic polyangiitis A primary systemic vasculitis of small- and some medium-sized vessels. It is characterized by a tropism for kidneys and lungs, positive association with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), and a paucity of immunoglobulin deposits in vessel walls. Vasculitides
  • Henoch-Schönlein purpura Henoch-Schönlein Purpura Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP), also known as immunoglobulin A vasculitis, is an autoimmune small-vessel vasculitis that typically presents as a tetrad of abdominal pain, arthralgia, hematuria, and purpuric rash. Henoch-Schönlein Purpura
  • Cryoglobulinemia Cryoglobulinemia A condition characterized by the presence of abnormal quantities of cryoglobulins in the blood. Upon cold exposure, these abnormal proteins precipitate into the microvasculature leading to restricted blood flow in the exposed areas. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis
  • Vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Infectious Infectious Febrile Infant causes:
    • Infective endocarditis Endocarditis Endocarditis is an inflammatory disease involving the inner lining (endometrium) of the heart, most commonly affecting the cardiac valves. Both infectious and noninfectious etiologies lead to vegetations on the valve leaflets. Patients may present with nonspecific symptoms such as fever and fatigue. Endocarditis
    • Hepatitis C Hepatitis C Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection can be transmitted through infectious blood or body fluids and may be transmitted during childbirth or through IV drug use or sexual intercourse. Hepatitis C virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging from a mild to a serious, lifelong illness including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatitis C Virus
    • Hepatitis B Hepatitis B Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a partially double-stranded DNA virus, which belongs to the Orthohepadnavirus genus and the Hepadnaviridae family. Most individuals with acute HBV infection are asymptomatic or have mild, self-limiting symptoms. Chronic infection can be asymptomatic or create hepatic inflammation, leading to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hepatitis B Virus

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of lupus nephritis: around 40% of individuals with lupus in the United States
  • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) attributed to lupus nephritis: 4.5 cases per 1 million cases in the general population
  • Women are more likely to develop DPGN.
  • Men are more likely to develop aggressive cases of DPGN.
Diffuse_proliferative_lupus_nephritis

“Flea-bitten” appearance of the cortical surface of a kidney in diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis.

Image: “Diffuse Proliferative Lupus Nephritis class IV” by Ed Uthman. License: Public Domain

Pathophysiology

Mechanism of injury

  • Depends on the underlying cause of DPGN
  • Typically involves deposition on immune complexes Immune complexes The complex formed by the binding of antigen and antibody molecules. The deposition of large antigen-antibody complexes leading to tissue damage causes immune complex diseases. C3 Deficiency, which in turn activates the complement pathway:
    • Immune complexes Immune complexes The complex formed by the binding of antigen and antibody molecules. The deposition of large antigen-antibody complexes leading to tissue damage causes immune complex diseases. C3 Deficiency are aggregates of antigens and antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions.
    • Deposition occurs in the mesangium Mesangium The thin membranous structure supporting the adjoining glomerular capillaries. It is composed of glomerular mesangial cells and their extracellular matrix. IgA Nephropathy, GBM, or subendothelial Subendothelial Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis or subepithelial Subepithelial Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis locations.
    • Results in recruitment Recruitment Skeletal Muscle Contraction of inflammatory cellular infiltrates, proliferation of mesangial and endothelial cells, and necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage
    • Severe cases may have cellular crescents (epithelial cells, activated macrophages Macrophages The relatively long-lived phagocytic cell of mammalian tissues that are derived from blood monocytes. Main types are peritoneal macrophages; alveolar macrophages; histiocytes; kupffer cells of the liver; and osteoclasts. They may further differentiate within chronic inflammatory lesions to epithelioid cells or may fuse to form foreign body giant cells or langhans giant cells. Innate Immunity: Phagocytes and Antigen Presentation, and fibrin Fibrin A protein derived from fibrinogen in the presence of thrombin, which forms part of the blood clot. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis) and fibrin Fibrin A protein derived from fibrinogen in the presence of thrombin, which forms part of the blood clot. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis thrombi. 
  • Cytokine release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology leads to cellular injury.

Effects

  • Immunologic attack on the glomerulus → ↑ GBM permeability to protein, RBCs RBCs Erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), are the most abundant cells in the blood. While erythrocytes in the fetus are initially produced in the yolk sac then the liver, the bone marrow eventually becomes the main site of production. Erythrocytes: Histology, and WBCs
  • Capillary loops become obliterated and sclerosis Sclerosis A pathological process consisting of hardening or fibrosis of an anatomical structure, often a vessel or a nerve. Wilms Tumor develops → hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension and renal failure Renal failure Conditions in which the kidneys perform below the normal level in the ability to remove wastes, concentrate urine, and maintain electrolyte balance; blood pressure; and calcium metabolism. Renal insufficiency can be classified by the degree of kidney damage (as measured by the level of proteinuria) and reduction in glomerular filtration rate. Crush Syndrome
  • Fibrinoid necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage in the glomerular vasculature → vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus → ↓ renal filtration and function

Clinical Presentation

General manifestations

Presentations vary considerably, with most symptoms occurring because of the decrease in GFR GFR The volume of water filtered out of plasma through glomerular capillary walls into Bowman’s capsules per unit of time. It is considered to be equivalent to inulin clearance. Kidney Function Tests caused by DPGN.

  • Nonspecific symptoms:
    • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
    • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia
    • Vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
    • Oliguria Oliguria Decreased urine output that is below the normal range. Oliguria can be defined as urine output of less than or equal to 0. 5 or 1 ml/kg/hr depending on the age. Renal Potassium Regulation
  • Nephritic symptoms:
    • Proteinuria Proteinuria The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of kidney diseases. Nephrotic Syndrome in Children
    • Hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension
    • Edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
    • Hematuria Hematuria Presence of blood in the urine. Renal Cell Carcinoma

Presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor in relation to underlying disease

Because DPGN is caused by another condition, the symptoms of the underlying cause are often present, such as in: 

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ( SLE SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus):
  • IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease) is a renal disease characterized by IgA deposition in the mesangium. It is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis in most developed countries. Patients frequently present in the second and third decades of life and, historically, with a preceding upper respiratory or GI infection. IgA Nephropathy:
  • Anti-GBM disease:
    • Majority with renal disease
    • About 25%–60% with pulmonary manifestations:
      • Hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
      • Cough
      • Dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis:
    • Pulmonary ( hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis, cough)
    • Head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess ( nosebleeds Nosebleeds Bleeding from the nose. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, hearing loss Hearing loss Hearing loss, also known as hearing impairment, is any degree of impairment in the ability to apprehend sound as determined by audiometry to be below normal hearing thresholds. Clinical presentation may occur at birth or as a gradual loss of hearing with age, including a short-term or sudden loss at any point. Hearing Loss, nasal cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology deformities)

Diagnosis

Renal biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma

Histology for diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis

Histology for diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis with leukocytic infiltration

Image: “Diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis with leukocytic infiltration” by Cannata-Ortiz P. License: CC BY 4.0

Other diagnostic tests Diagnostic tests Diagnostic tests are important aspects in making a diagnosis. Some of the most important epidemiological values of diagnostic tests include sensitivity and specificity, false positives and false negatives, positive and negative predictive values, likelihood ratios, and pre-test and post-test probabilities. Epidemiological Values of Diagnostic Tests

  • CBC findings (depending on underlying disease) can include:
    • Anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types 
    • Leukopenia
    • Lymphopenia 
    • Thrombocytopenia Thrombocytopenia Thrombocytopenia occurs when the platelet count is < 150,000 per microliter. The normal range for platelets is usually 150,000-450,000/µL of whole blood. Thrombocytopenia can be a result of decreased production, increased destruction, or splenic sequestration of platelets. Patients are often asymptomatic until platelet counts are < 50,000/µL. Thrombocytopenia
  • Renal function tests: 
    • ↑ Serum creatinine due to kidney damage
    • ↑ BUN due to kidney damage
  • Urinalysis Urinalysis Examination of urine by chemical, physical, or microscopic means. Routine urinalysis usually includes performing chemical screening tests, determining specific gravity, observing any unusual color or odor, screening for bacteriuria, and examining the sediment microscopically. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children may show any of the following:
    • RBCs RBCs Erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), are the most abundant cells in the blood. While erythrocytes in the fetus are initially produced in the yolk sac then the liver, the bone marrow eventually becomes the main site of production. Erythrocytes: Histology and casts
    • WBCs 
    • Granular casts
    • Proteinuria Proteinuria The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of kidney diseases. Nephrotic Syndrome in Children
  • Serologic tests to evaluate for the primary etiology of DPGN:
    • Positive ANAs: nonspecific, but positive in majority of cases of SLE SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
    • Positive anti–double-stranded DNA DNA A deoxyribonucleotide polymer that is the primary genetic material of all cells. Eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms normally contain DNA in a double-stranded state, yet several important biological processes transiently involve single-stranded regions. DNA, which consists of a polysugar-phosphate backbone possessing projections of purines (adenine and guanine) and pyrimidines (thymine and cytosine), forms a double helix that is held together by hydrogen bonds between these purines and pyrimidines (adenine to thymine and guanine to cytosine). DNA Types and Structure (anti-dsDNA) and anti-Smith (anti-Sm) antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions: SLE SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
    • Low C3, C4, and CH50 CH50 Terminal Complement Pathway Deficiency: SLE SLE Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, postinfectious GN, poststreptococcal GN, cryoglobulinemia Cryoglobulinemia A condition characterized by the presence of abnormal quantities of cryoglobulins in the blood. Upon cold exposure, these abnormal proteins precipitate into the microvasculature leading to restricted blood flow in the exposed areas. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis
    • Positive ANCA ANCA Group of systemic vasculitis with a strong association with anca. The disorders are characterized by necrotizing inflammation of small and medium size vessels, with little or no immune-complex deposits in vessel walls. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis: granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
    • Positive anti-GBM antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions: anti-GBM disease
    • High titers of anti–streptolysin O: poststreptococcal GN
    • Elevated serum IgA IgA Represents 15-20% of the human serum immunoglobulins, mostly as the 4-chain polymer in humans or dimer in other mammals. Secretory iga is the main immunoglobulin in secretions. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions levels: IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease) is a renal disease characterized by IgA deposition in the mesangium. It is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis in most developed countries. Patients frequently present in the second and third decades of life and, historically, with a preceding upper respiratory or GI infection. IgA Nephropathy
  • Renal ultrasonography:
    • Confirm that 2 kidneys Kidneys The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located retroperitoneally against the posterior wall of the abdomen on either side of the spine. As part of the urinary tract, the kidneys are responsible for blood filtration and excretion of water-soluble waste in the urine. Kidneys: Anatomy are present and obtain renal size.
    • Evaluate for obstruction or structural lesions that may cause azotemia Azotemia A biochemical abnormality referring to an elevation of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. Azotemia can be produced by kidney diseases or other extrarenal disorders. When azotemia becomes associated with a constellation of clinical signs, it is termed uremia. Acute Kidney Injury.

Management

Treatment approach

  • Depends on severity of disease
  • Generally, should be aggressively treated in a timely manner to minimize the risk of ESRD
  • Mild disease:
    • Characteristics:
      • Normal serum creatinine levels
      • Non–nephrotic-range proteinuria Proteinuria The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of kidney diseases. Nephrotic Syndrome in Children
      • Normal estimated GFR GFR The volume of water filtered out of plasma through glomerular capillary walls into Bowman’s capsules per unit of time. It is considered to be equivalent to inulin clearance. Kidney Function Tests (eGFR)
    •  May be managed with an ACEi ACEi A class of drugs whose main indications are the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. They exert their hemodynamic effect mainly by inhibiting the renin-angiotensin system. They also modulate sympathetic nervous system activity and increase prostaglandin synthesis. They cause mainly vasodilation and mild natriuresis without affecting heart rate and contractility. Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Inhibitors, a statin (↓ atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a common form of arterial disease in which lipid deposition forms a plaque in the blood vessel walls. Atherosclerosis is an incurable disease, for which there are clearly defined risk factors that often can be reduced through a change in lifestyle and behavior of the patient. Atherosclerosis), and regular Regular Insulin follow-up
  • Individuals with significant disease (e.g., hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension, ↓ GFR GFR The volume of water filtered out of plasma through glomerular capillary walls into Bowman’s capsules per unit of time. It is considered to be equivalent to inulin clearance. Kidney Function Tests, ↑ creatinine): a course of steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors for up to 6 months
  • Additional therapy (including immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants are a class of drugs widely used in the management of autoimmune conditions and organ transplant rejection. The general effect is dampening of the immune response. Immunosuppressants) is used depending on response and etiology of DPGN.
  • In ESRD → renal replacement therapy:
    • Dialysis Dialysis Renal replacement therapy refers to dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. Dialysis is a procedure by which toxins and excess water are removed from the circulation. Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (PD) are the two types of dialysis, and their primary difference is the location of the filtration process (external to the body in hemodialysis versus inside the body for PD). Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis 
    • Kidney transplantation Kidney Transplantation The transference of a kidney from one human or animal to another. Organ Transplantation

Underlying disease

To reduce progression of renal disease, management will vary depending on the underlying condition. Options are as follows:

  • Lupus nephritis:
    • Pulse methylprednisolone Methylprednisolone A prednisolone derivative with similar anti-inflammatory action. Immunosuppressants + mycophenolate Mycophenolate Immunosuppressants mofetil (MMF) or cyclophosphamide Cyclophosphamide Precursor of an alkylating nitrogen mustard antineoplastic and immunosuppressive agent that must be activated in the liver to form the active aldophosphamide. It has been used in the treatment of lymphoma and leukemia. Its side effect, alopecia, has been used for defleecing sheep. Cyclophosphamide may also cause sterility, birth defects, mutations, and cancer. Immunosuppressants
    • Other treatments:
      • Biologic therapies (e.g., belimumab Belimumab Immunosuppressants)
      • Calcineurin Calcineurin A calcium and calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine protein phosphatase that is composed of the calcineurin a catalytic subunit and the calcineurin B regulatory subunit. Calcineurin has been shown to dephosphorylate a number of phosphoproteins including histones; myosin light chain; and the regulatory subunits of camp-dependent protein kinases. It is involved in the regulation of signal transduction and is the target of an important class of immunophilin-immunosuppressive drug complexes. Vitiligo inhibitors (e.g., tacrolimus Tacrolimus A macrolide isolated from the culture broth of a strain of streptomyces tsukubaensis that has strong immunosuppressive activity in vivo and prevents the activation of T-lymphocytes in response to antigenic or mitogenic stimulation in vitro. Immunosuppressants)
  • IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease) is a renal disease characterized by IgA deposition in the mesangium. It is the most common cause of primary glomerulonephritis in most developed countries. Patients frequently present in the second and third decades of life and, historically, with a preceding upper respiratory or GI infection. IgA Nephropathy:
    • Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids are a class within the corticosteroid family. Glucocorticoids are chemically and functionally similar to endogenous cortisol. There are a wide array of indications, which primarily benefit from the antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of this class of drugs. Glucocorticoids
    • For rapidly progressive disease: consider glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids Glucocorticoids are a class within the corticosteroid family. Glucocorticoids are chemically and functionally similar to endogenous cortisol. There are a wide array of indications, which primarily benefit from the antiinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of this class of drugs. Glucocorticoids + cyclophosphamide Cyclophosphamide Precursor of an alkylating nitrogen mustard antineoplastic and immunosuppressive agent that must be activated in the liver to form the active aldophosphamide. It has been used in the treatment of lymphoma and leukemia. Its side effect, alopecia, has been used for defleecing sheep. Cyclophosphamide may also cause sterility, birth defects, mutations, and cancer. Immunosuppressants then azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants
  • Anti-GBM disease:
    • Initial treatment with high-dose corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis
    • Cyclophosphamide Cyclophosphamide Precursor of an alkylating nitrogen mustard antineoplastic and immunosuppressive agent that must be activated in the liver to form the active aldophosphamide. It has been used in the treatment of lymphoma and leukemia. Its side effect, alopecia, has been used for defleecing sheep. Cyclophosphamide may also cause sterility, birth defects, mutations, and cancer. Immunosuppressants
    • Plasmapheresis Plasmapheresis Procedure whereby plasma is separated and extracted from anticoagulated whole blood and the red cells retransfused to the donor. Plasmapheresis is also employed for therapeutic use. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (removal of antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions)
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis:
    • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis
    • Add other immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants are a class of drugs widely used in the management of autoimmune conditions and organ transplant rejection. The general effect is dampening of the immune response. Immunosuppressants (e.g., cyclophosphamide Cyclophosphamide Precursor of an alkylating nitrogen mustard antineoplastic and immunosuppressive agent that must be activated in the liver to form the active aldophosphamide. It has been used in the treatment of lymphoma and leukemia. Its side effect, alopecia, has been used for defleecing sheep. Cyclophosphamide may also cause sterility, birth defects, mutations, and cancer. Immunosuppressants, rituximab Rituximab A murine-derived monoclonal antibody and antineoplastic agent that binds specifically to the cd20 antigen and is used in the treatment of leukemia; lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. Immunosuppressants, azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants)

Differential Diagnosis

  • Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) is a syndrome of severe glomerular disease with progressive loss of kidney function within weeks to months. Histologically, crescents (the proliferation of epithelial cells and the infiltration of monocytes/macrophages in the Bowman space) are found in the glomeruli and arise from immunologic injury. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis ( RPGN RPGN Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) is a syndrome of severe glomerular disease with progressive loss of kidney function within weeks to months. Histologically, crescents (the proliferation of epithelial cells and the infiltration of monocytes/macrophages in the Bowman space) are found in the glomeruli and arise from immunologic injury. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis): nephritic syndrome Nephritic syndrome Nephritic syndrome is a broad category of glomerular diseases characterized by glomerular hematuria, variable loss of renal function, and hypertension. These features are in contrast to those of nephrotic syndrome, which includes glomerular diseases characterized by severe proteinuria, although there is sometimes overlap of > 1 glomerular disease in the same individual. Nephritic Syndrome accompanied by features of glomerular disease, microscopic glomerular crescent Crescent Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis formation and progression to renal failure Renal failure Conditions in which the kidneys perform below the normal level in the ability to remove wastes, concentrate urine, and maintain electrolyte balance; blood pressure; and calcium metabolism. Renal insufficiency can be classified by the degree of kidney damage (as measured by the level of proteinuria) and reduction in glomerular filtration rate. Crush Syndrome within weeks to months. Glomerular injury in RPGN RPGN Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) is a syndrome of severe glomerular disease with progressive loss of kidney function within weeks to months. Histologically, crescents (the proliferation of epithelial cells and the infiltration of monocytes/macrophages in the Bowman space) are found in the glomeruli and arise from immunologic injury. Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis can be from anti-GBM disease, immune complex–mediated injury, pauci-immune necrotizing and crescentic GN, or idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis causes. Diagnosis is by history, urinalysis Urinalysis Examination of urine by chemical, physical, or microscopic means. Routine urinalysis usually includes performing chemical screening tests, determining specific gravity, observing any unusual color or odor, screening for bacteriuria, and examining the sediment microscopically. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children, serology Serology The study of serum, especially of antigen-antibody reactions in vitro. Yellow Fever Virus, and renal biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma. Treatment is with immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants Immunosuppressants are a class of drugs widely used in the management of autoimmune conditions and organ transplant rejection. The general effect is dampening of the immune response. Immunosuppressants, with specific therapy depending on the underlying mechanism of renal disease. 
  • Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis Poststreptococcal Glomerulonephritis Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) is a type of nephritis that is caused by a prior infection with group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS). The clinical presentation of PSGN can range from asymptomatic, microscopic hematuria to full-blown acute nephritic syndrome, which is characterized by red-to-brown urine, proteinuria, edema, and acute kidney injury. Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis ( PSGN PSGN Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) is a type of nephritis that is caused by a prior infection with group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS). The clinical presentation of PSGN can range from asymptomatic, microscopic hematuria to full-blown acute nephritic syndrome, which is characterized by red-to-brown urine, proteinuria, edema, and acute kidney injury. Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis): occurs after infection with a group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus Streptococcus Streptococcus is one of the two medically important genera of gram-positive cocci, the other being Staphylococcus. Streptococci are identified as different species on blood agar on the basis of their hemolytic pattern and sensitivity to optochin and bacitracin. There are many pathogenic species of streptococci, including S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, S. pneumoniae, and the viridans streptococci. Streptococcus. Diagnosis of PSGN PSGN Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) is a type of nephritis that is caused by a prior infection with group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS). The clinical presentation of PSGN can range from asymptomatic, microscopic hematuria to full-blown acute nephritic syndrome, which is characterized by red-to-brown urine, proteinuria, edema, and acute kidney injury. Postinfectious Glomerulonephritis is by history, laboratory tests (including urinalysis Urinalysis Examination of urine by chemical, physical, or microscopic means. Routine urinalysis usually includes performing chemical screening tests, determining specific gravity, observing any unusual color or odor, screening for bacteriuria, and examining the sediment microscopically. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children), and serology Serology The study of serum, especially of antigen-antibody reactions in vitro. Yellow Fever Virus testing. Treatment is supportive, and the prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas is usually excellent, with the majority of individuals recovering without long-term complications.  
  • Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is also known as mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis is a pattern of glomerular injury characterized by mesangial hypercellularity, endocapillary proliferation, and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane (double contour formation). Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis ( MPGN MPGN Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is also known as mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis is a pattern of glomerular injury characterized by mesangial hypercellularity, endocapillary proliferation, and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane (double contour formation). Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis): histologic renal lesion characterized by glomerular injury with GBM thickening and mesangial proliferation. The pathogenic process of MPGN MPGN Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is also known as mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis is a pattern of glomerular injury characterized by mesangial hypercellularity, endocapillary proliferation, and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane (double contour formation). Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis can be either immune complex–mediated or complement-mediated. Individuals can present with nephritic syndrome Nephritic syndrome Nephritic syndrome is a broad category of glomerular diseases characterized by glomerular hematuria, variable loss of renal function, and hypertension. These features are in contrast to those of nephrotic syndrome, which includes glomerular diseases characterized by severe proteinuria, although there is sometimes overlap of > 1 glomerular disease in the same individual. Nephritic Syndrome, variable Variable Variables represent information about something that can change. The design of the measurement scales, or of the methods for obtaining information, will determine the data gathered and the characteristics of that data. As a result, a variable can be qualitative or quantitative, and may be further classified into subgroups. Types of Variables proteinuria Proteinuria The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of kidney diseases. Nephrotic Syndrome in Children, and renal function. Renal biopsy Biopsy Removal and pathologic examination of specimens from the living body. Ewing Sarcoma shows the pathologic renal lesion, and further investigation (e.g., laboratory tests) will point to the underlying cause ( infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, autoimmune disease). Treatment is based on the etiologic disease.

References

  1. Bomback A.S., et al. (2021). Lupus nephritis: diagnosis and classification. UpToDate. Retrieved August 13, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/lupus-nephritis-diagnosis-and-classification
  2. Falk R.J., et al. (2021). Lupus nephritis: Initial and subsequent therapy for focal or diffuse lupus nephritis. UpToDate. Retrieved August 13, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/lupus-nephritis-initial-and-subsequent-therapy-for-focal-or-diffuse-lupus-nephritis
  3. Ikhlas M., Anjum, F. (2021). Diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis. StatPearls. Retrieved August 13, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32644412/
  4. Ikhlas M, Anjum F. (2021). Diffuse proliferative glomerulonephritis. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558986/

USMLE™ is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB®) and National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME®). MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). NCLEX®, NCLEX-RN®, and NCLEX-PN® are registered trademarks of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc (NCSBN®). None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Lecturio.

Create your free account or log in to continue reading!

Sign up now and get free access to Lecturio with concept pages, medical videos, and questions for your medical education.

User Reviews

¡Hola!

Esta página está disponible en Español.

Details