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Mt Sinai J Med. 1998 Jan;65(1):27-32.

HIV-associated nephropathy.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.



Patients with HIV-1 infection are at risk for developing renal diseases with diverse etiologies. Acute renal failure occurs in up to 20% of hospitalized patients with HIV infection, and chronic renal disease of diverse etiology has been reported. The single most common cause of chronic renal insufficiency in HIV-1+ patients is HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN). Typical morphologic features include enlarged kidneys, microcystic tubule dilatation, tubulointerstitial inflammation, and focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis.


The pathogenesis, epidemiology, and treatment options for HIVAN are discussed. In studying the epidemiology of the disease, we reviewed several renal disease databases, including the United States Renal Data Systems and New York State End Stage Renal Disease Network. We have previously reported our experience with HIVAN at Mount Sinai Medical Center.


The exact cause of the renal disease remains unknown. The importance of a direct effect of HIV-1 viral protein(s) or renal HIV-1 gene expression in disease pathogenesis is supported in the murine model of HIVAN, but definitive proof of renal cell infection in humans is lacking. Further study is required to clarify this issue. We estimate that HIVAN is the fourth leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among Blacks between the ages of 20 and 64 years, only slightly behind hypertension, diabetes, and chronic glomerulonephritis. At Mount Sinai Hospital HIVAN accounts for 20% of newly diagnosed ESRD in young black adults. It has become the third leading cause of ESRD in this group, after hypertension and diabetes.


In seropositive patients with renal disease, renal biopsies should be performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the true incidence. Special attention should be directed toward understanding the underlying cause(s) of HIVAN. A multicenter trial to explore the potential for antiviral therapy in this disease should be initiated.

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