IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a newly recognized fibroinflammatory condition. The kidney is one of the organs commonly affected by IgG4-RD. Tubulointerstitial nephritis (TIN) is the main feature, and membranous nephropathy (MN) has also been described frequently. In MN, polyclonal immunoglobulins and complements are deposited in granular form along the glomerular basement membranes (GBMs). Unusual cases of monoclonal immunoglobulin deposition disease (MIDD) associated with membranous features have been reported. MIDD is morphologically similar to MN but contains immunoglobulins considered to be derived from single B-cell clone.
We describe a 65-year-old man who was referred to our hospital because of hyperproteinaemia, eosinophilia, anaemia, and proteinuria. A renal biopsy demonstrated infiltration of plasma cells and eosinophils in the interstitium, and the ratio of IgG4-positive plasma cells to IgG-positive plasma cells was 55%. The patient was diagnosed as having IgG4-related TIN. Periodic acid methenamine silver staining under light microscopy revealed a bubbling appearance and spike formation in the GBM. On immunofluorescence, the expression of IgG and complements was negative; however, IgA was positively expressed in a granular pattern along the GBM. An IgA subclass analysis revealed a significant deposition of IgA1-lambda (IgA1-λ). Electron microscopy revealed irregular and small non-organized and non-Randall-type granular electron-dense deposits in the GBM that were shaped like snow leopard spots.
After corticosteroid therapy was initiated, the patient’s eosinophilia remarkably improved and his serum creatinine, IgG, and IgG4 levels decreased to within the normal ranges. However, massive proteinuria persisted. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of IgG4-related TIN associated with IgA1-λ-type MIDD with membranous features.