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Mod Pathol. 2010 Aug;23(8):1080-8. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2010.92. Epub 2010 May 14.

C1q deposition in the renal allograft: a report of 24 cases.

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  • 1Division of Anatomic Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


C1q nephropathy is an uncommon glomerular disease characterized by dominant or codominant mesangial staining for C1q in the absence of systemic lupus erythematosus. There are no series in the literature addressing the significance of C1q deposition in the renal allograft. We retrospectively analyzed 24 patients, most of whom were white (83%) and male (63%), with a mean age at transplant of 31 years. None of the patients were diagnosed with C1q nephropathy in the native kidney or had any features of systemic lupus erythematosus. The mean time from transplant to detection of mesangial C1q deposits was 37 months (>12 months in 71% of cases). Half of the patients had a preceding infection. The indication for biopsy was surveillance (63%) or graft dysfunction (37%). At biopsy, 52% had proteinuria (>1g/day in only 17%). The mean creatinine was 1.8 mg per 100 ml. Only 9% developed hematuria and none had hypoalbuminemia. The glomerular pattern on light microscopy was mesangial hypercellularity (46%), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (21%), or no lesions (33%). All cases showed intense (>or=2+) dominant (67%) or codominant (33%) mesangial staining for C1q on immunofluorescence. Mesangial electron-dense deposits were seen in 82% of cases. On follow-up (mean 1 year) of the 10 patients without rejection, most had stable creatinine with no or stable proteinuria, and none lost their graft. We conclude that C1q-dominant mesangial deposition in the renal allograft is a morphological pattern with no apparent clinical significance in the majority of patients. It is usually detected after the first year. The rate of preceding infection and the prevalence of proteinuria seem to be similar to the renal transplant recipients in general. Most cases show mesangial hypercellularity or no glomerular changes on light microscopy.

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