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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1993;8(11):1193-8.

Low-antigen-content diet in the treatment of patients with IgA nephropathy.

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Istituto Patologia Medica I, University of Pisa, Italy.


Since dietary macromolecular antigens can be involved in the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy (IgAN), the effect of a low-antigen-content diet was evaluated in 21 patients (10 women, 11 men, mean age 27.7 +/- 10 years) with immunohistochemical findings of active IgAN. The diet was followed for a 14-24-week period (mean 18.8 +/- 6); in all cases the effects of the treatment were evaluated by clinical and serological parameters, and in 11 patients also by repeat renal biopsy. After dietetic therapy a significant reduction of urinary proteins was recorded (P < 0.001); in particular, heavy proteinuria (> 1 g/day), present in 12 cases during the 6 months preceding the treatment, was markedly reduced or disappeared in 11. At post-treatment control biopsy mesangial and parietal deposits of immunoglobulins, complement C5 fraction and fibrinogen were significantly reduced. The improvement of the objective parameters such as heavy proteinuria, a strong predictor of a poor prognosis, and of immunohistochemical alterations indicate that a low-antigen diet can positively affect patients with IgAN. These results could be ascribed to a reduction of nephritogenic food antigen input and to a putative functional restoration of the mononuclear phagocytic system.

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