Tubulointerstitial fibrosis in patients with IgG4-related kidney disease: Pathological findings on repeat renal biopsy

Haruna Arai, Hiroki Hayashi, Kazuo Takahashi, Shigehisa Koide, Waichi Sato, Midori Hasegawa, Yutaka Yamaguchi, Jan Aten, Yasuhiko Ito, Yukio Yuzawa

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Renal parenchymal lesions in patients with IgG4-related kidney disease (IgG4-RKD) are characterized by tubulointerstitial nephritis with storiform fibrosis and infiltration by high numbers of IgG4-positive plasma cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and pathological effects of corticosteroid therapy in patients with IgG4-RKD. Of six patients who were diagnosed with IgG4-RKD, four patients underwent re-biopsy at approximately 30–50 days after corticosteroid therapy was initiated. Based on the classification of Yamaguchi et al., the degree of tubulointerstitial fibrosis was classified before and after therapy. In addition, tubulointerstitial expression patterns of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), collagen I, III, and IV protein, and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) mRNA were examined. Histopathological findings before treatment showed α-SMA-positive myofibroblasts in the lesion, and CTGF mRNA-positive cells were found in the cellular infiltrate. Although corticosteroid therapy improved serum creatinine clinically, the stage of fibrosis advanced pathologically as evidenced by increased staining for collagen I and III. However, the number of IgG4-positive plasma cells decreased, and CTGF mRNA expression reduced. In other words, fibrosis had advanced from the time of extensive cell infiltration in patients with IgG4-RKD and inflammation was relieved by corticosteroid. A reduced number of positive CTGF mRNA expression cells in repeat biopsies indicated that the fibrosis process was terminated by corticosteroid therapy. We propose that corticosteroid therapy could terminate the pathway of active fibrosis, thereby inhibiting progression to renal dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1101
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28-06-2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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