Glomerular podocytopathy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.J Am Soc Nephrol 2005; 16(1):175-9JA
A series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and proteinuria were studied to determine whether nephrotic-range proteinuria was associated with diffuse epithelial cell foot process effacement in the absence of peripheral glomerular immune aggregate deposition. Biopsies from patients with known or suspected SLE and a histologic diagnosis of (1) normal by light microscopy, (2) mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis, or (3) focal segmental glomerulosclerosis were studied. Biopsies were excluded when they demonstrated endocapillary proliferation or necrosis by light microscopy or electron-dense glomerular basement membrane deposits by electron microscopy. Patients were required to fulfill four of 11 American Rheumatologic Association criteria for the diagnosis of SLE, and proteinuria could not be associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use. Eighteen biopsies were studied, eight from patients with nephrotic-range proteinuria (>/=3 g/d) and 10 from patients with non-nephrotic proteinuria. The time from diagnosis of SLE to biopsy was shorter for nephrotic patients that for nonnephrotic patients. Seven of eight biopsies from nephrotic patients demonstrated at least 80% foot process effacement, whereas no biopsy from a nonnephrotic patient exhibited >20% effacement. There were no other significant pathologic differences between the nephrotic and nonnephrotic patients. The single common morphologic feature associated with nephrotic proteinuria was diffuse visceral epithelial cell foot process effacement. It is concluded that the development of nephrotic-range proteinuria in patients with SLE without peripheral immune aggregate deposition or endocapillary proliferation on renal biopsy is more likely a manifestation of SLE than the coexistence of idiopathic minimal-change glomerulopathy and SLE.