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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1999 Jul;10(7):1566-74.

Hepatitis C virus-associated glomerular disease in patients with human immunodeficiency virus coinfection.

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  • 1Department of Medicine at Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York 10037, USA.


Chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been linked to the development of glomerular disease. HCV infection is highly prevalent among intravenous drug users, a population that is also at risk for HIV coinfection. This study reports the clinical-pathologic features and outcome of HCV-associated glomerular disease (HCV-GD) in 14 patients with HIV coinfection. All were intravenous drug users and all but one were African-Americans. Renal presentations included renal insufficiency, microscopic hematuria with active urine sediment, hypertension, and nephrotic syndrome or nephrotic-range proteinuria without hypercholesterolemia. Hypocomplementemia and cryoglobulinemia were present in 46 and 33% of patients, respectively. The predominant renal biopsy findings were membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis type 1 or type 3 (Burkholder subtype) in 79% of patients and membranous glomerulopathy with atypical features in 21% (including overlap with collapsing glomerulopathy in one patient). The clinical course was characterized by rapid progression to renal failure requiring dialysis. The overall morbidity and mortality were high with median time of 5.8 mo to dialysis or death. Although most patients died in renal failure, cause of death was primarily attributable to long-term immunosuppression and advanced AIDS. Patients with AIDS had shorter survival than those without (median survival time of 6.1 mo versus 45.9 mo, log-rank test P = 0.02). Only two patients were alive with stable renal function at follow-up of 28.5 mo. In patients with HCV-GD, coinfection with HIV leads to an aggressive form of renal disease that can be easily confused with HIV-associated nephropathy. Although hypocomplementemia, cryoglobulinemia, and more prominent hypertension and microscopic hematuria may provide clues to the presence of HCV-GD, renal biopsy is essential to differentiate HCV-GD from HIV-associated nephropathy.

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