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Transplantation. 1997 Jun 15;63(11):1634-9.

Membranous glomerulonephritis associated with hepatitis C virus infection in renal transplant patients.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been described in association with various types of glomerular diseases, usually type I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis and rarely membranous glomerulonephritis (MGN). In this article, we describe the first series of MGN exhibited in renal transplant patients and associated with HCV infection.


From January 1980 to December 1994, 2045 kidney transplantations were performed in our renal transplant units. A retrospective analysis demonstrated an overall 20% prevalence of HCV virus-positive patients; 409 transplanted patients were HCV positive (ELISA and RIBA).


Fifteen patients developed an allograft MGN (3.66%) 24 months after renal transplantation. MGN appeared in the form of significant proteinuria (>1.5 g/24 h) with stable renal function. In all cases, graft biopsy demonstrated a thickening of the capillary wall, subepithelial electron-dense deposits, and IgG and C3 diffuse granular deposits along the basal membrane. Ten cases were considered de novo, two cases were considered recurrent MGN, and three cases were considered undetermined because the primary renal disease was chronic glomerulonephritis. All patients showed negative antinuclear antibodies and cryoglobulins, normal complement, and negative rheumatoid factors. During follow-up (an average of 2 years), 12 patients developed a progressive worsening of renal function, with increased serum creatinine and persistent proteinuria; 8 of the 12 patients returned to dialysis. Of the remaining three cases, two patients showed partial remission of nephrotic syndrome after high doses of steroids, and one patient persisted with stable renal function and proteinuria (<2 g/24 h.).


In summary, HCV is preferentially associated with MGN in renal transplant patients, rather than with membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis as in the normal adult population. MGN associated with HCV infection has a similar clinical picture and outcome to posttransplant idiopathic de novo MGN, with persistent massive proteinuria and progressive deterioration of renal function.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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