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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2014 Oct;138(10):1365-80. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2013-0493-OA.

Proximal tubulopathies associated with monoclonal light chains: the spectrum of clinicopathologic manifestations and molecular pathogenesis.

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From the Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University, Shreveport.



Lesions associated with monoclonal light and heavy chains display a variety of glomerular, tubular interstitial, and vascular manifestations. While some of the entities are well recognized, including light and heavy chain deposition diseases, AL (light chain) and AH (heavy chain) amyloidosis, and light chain ("myeloma") cast nephropathy, other lesions centered on proximal tubules are much less accurately identified, properly diagnosed, and adequately understood in terms of pathogenesis and molecular mechanisms involved. These proximal tubule-centered lesions are typically associated with monoclonal light chains and have not been reported in patients with circulating monoclonal heavy chains.


To determine the incidence of proximal tubulopathies in a series of patients with monoclonal light chain-related renal lesions and characterize them with an emphasis on clinical correlations and elucidation of molecular mechanisms involved in their pathogenesis.


A study of 5410 renal biopsies with careful evaluation of light microscopic, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopic findings was conducted to identify these monoclonal light/heavy chain-related lesions. In selected cases, ultrastructural immunolabeling was performed to better illustrate and understand molecular mechanisms involved or to resolve specific diagnostic difficulties.


In all, 2.5% of the biopsies were diagnosed as demonstrating renal pathology associated with monoclonal light or heavy chains. Of these, approximately 46% were classified as proximal tubule-centered lesions, also referred to as monoclonal light chain-associated proximal tubulopathies. These proximal tubulopathies were divided into 4 groups defined by characteristic immunomorphologic manifestations associated with specific clinical settings.


These are important lesions whose recognition in the different clinical settings is extremely important for patients' clinical management, therapeutic purposes, and prognosis. These entities have been segregated into 4 distinct variants, conceptualized morphologically and clinically. Specific mechanisms involved in their pathogenesis are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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