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Am J Kidney Dis. 2013 Jul;62(1):159-64. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2013.02.353. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

Immune complex disease with a lupus-like pattern of deposition in an antinuclear antibody-negative patient.

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  • 1Section on Nephrology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis can be caused by a multitude of disease processes and may manifest in a variety of histologic patterns. Lupus nephritis is an immune complex disease, the diagnosis of which requires that the affected patient have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In the absence of SLE, the finding of glomerulonephritis with certain patterns of immune complex deposition characteristic of lupus nephritis has been referred to as lupus-like glomerulonephritis. Immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, IgM, complement C3, and C1q deposition in glomerular immune deposits is one such pattern. We report a case of immune complex disease in a primarily membranous distribution with mesangial, subendothelial, and tubular basement membrane deposits with IgG, IgA, IgM, C3, and C1q deposition in a patient with proteinuria, photosensitive dermatitis, and a positive lupus anticoagulant test. The patient had 3 of the clinical criteria for SLE, thus failing to meet the diagnosis based on the American College of Rheumatology definition. In this case, a diagnosis of lupus-like glomerulonephritis was made after other causes of membranous glomerulopathy were excluded. This teaching case highlights the broad differential diagnosis of this pattern of injury and reviews similar cases in the literature.

Copyright © 2013 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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