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Kidney Int. 2010 Apr;77(8):721-8. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.1. Epub 2010 Feb 3.

Recurrent membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis after kidney transplantation.

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Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


On examination of the records of 1321 patients following kidney transplant over an 11-year period, we found that 29 patients had recurrent membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN). We excluded from this analysis patients who had MPGN type II, those with clear evidence of secondary MPGN, and those lacking post-transplant biopsies. During an average of 53 months of follow-up, we found using protocol biopsies that 12 of these patients had recurrent MPGN diagnosed 1 week to 14 months post-transplant. In 4 of the 12 patients this presented clinically, whereas the remaining had subclinical disease. The risk of recurrence was significantly increased in patients with low complement levels. Serum monoclonal proteins were found in a total of six patients; appeared to be associated with earlier, more aggressive disease; and were more common in recurrent than non-recurrent disease. The recurrence of MPGN was marginally higher in recipients of living-donor kidneys. Some patients developed characteristic lesions within 2 months post-transplant, whereas others presented with minimal, atypical histological changes that progressed to MPGN. Of 29 patients, 5 lost their allograft and 2 patients remain on chronic plasmapheresis. Our study shows the risk of MPGN recurrence and progression depends on identifiable pretransplant characteristics, has variable clinical impact, and can result in graft failure.

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