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      Renal Pathologic Findings in TAFRO Syndrome: Is There a Continuum Between Thrombotic Microangiopathy and Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis? A Case Report and Literature Review

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          Background: TAFRO syndrome is a clinical subtype of idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) that is characterized by thrombocytopenia, anasarca, fever and/or elevated serum C-reactive protein, renal dysfunction, and organomegaly.

          Case Presentation: A 28-year-old woman with fever, weight gain of 13 kgs, lower extremity edema, hepatosplenomegaly, and multicentric peripheral lymphadenopathy was referred to our center. Laboratory investigations revealed anemia, thrombocytopenia, creatinine at 1.19 mg/dL and hypoalbuminemia at 33 g/L. Proteinuria was measured at 2 g/day including albuminuria at 1.5 g/day. Urinary sediment examination found leukocyturia at 44,000/mL and hematuria at 645,000/mL. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) level was elevated. A cervical lymph node biopsy found features consistent with the mixed histopathological subtype of iMCD. A renal biopsy revealed a membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) pattern. We initiated 3 days of methylprednisolone pulse-therapy at 1,000 mg per day, followed by prednisone 1 mg/kg/day and evolution was favorable.

          Review of Literature: 19 iMCD patients with TAFRO syndrome had undergone a renal biopsy: 8 cases with author's diagnosis consistent with MPGN-like and 11 cases of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA)-like glomerulopathy without fibrin thrombi in glomerular capillaries or arterioles and without typical biological signs. Clinical, biological, and outcome characteristics were similar between the cases described as having MPGN and TMA-like presentation. After a thorough review of histopathological descriptions for each case, MPGN lesions seems to be the consequences of chronic glomerular endothelial injury in persistent TMA. We suspect that VEGF and IL-6 play a key role in the physiopathology of the spectrum of renal involvement from TMA-like to MPGN observed in TAFRO syndrome.

          Conclusion: We present a Caucasian iMCD patient with TAFRO syndrome with renal insufficiency secondary to MPGN, which might be secondary to a chronic TMA-like disease. We suspect that there is a continuum between TMA and MPGN lesions in TAFRO syndrome favored by VEGF and IL-6.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Glomerular-specific alterations of VEGF-A expression lead to distinct congenital and acquired renal diseases.

          Kidney disease affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Although the causes of renal failure are diverse, the glomerular filtration barrier is often the target of injury. Dysregulation of VEGF expression within the glomerulus has been demonstrated in a wide range of primary and acquired renal diseases, although the significance of these changes is unknown. In the glomerulus, VEGF-A is highly expressed in podocytes that make up a major portion of the barrier between the blood and urinary spaces. In this paper, we show that glomerular-selective deletion or overexpression of VEGF-A leads to glomerular disease in mice. Podocyte-specific heterozygosity for VEGF-A resulted in renal disease by 2.5 weeks of age, characterized by proteinuria and endotheliosis, the renal lesion seen in preeclampsia. Homozygous deletion of VEGF-A in glomeruli resulted in perinatal lethality. Mutant kidneys failed to develop a filtration barrier due to defects in endothelial cell migration, differentiation, and survival. In contrast, podocyte-specific overexpression of the VEGF-164 isoform led to a striking collapsing glomerulopathy, the lesion seen in HIV-associated nephropathy. Our data demonstrate that tight regulation of VEGF-A signaling is critical for establishment and maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier and strongly supports a pivotal role for VEGF-A in renal disease.
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            International, evidence-based consensus diagnostic criteria for HHV-8-negative/idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease.

            Human Herpesvirus-8(HHV-8)-negative, idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) is a rare and life-threatening disorder involving systemic inflammatory symptoms, polyclonal lymphoproliferation, cytopenias, and multiple organ system dysfunction due to a cytokine storm often including interleukin-6. iMCD accounts for one-third to one-half of all cases of MCD and can occur in individuals of any age. Accurate diagnosis is challenging, as no standard diagnostic criteria or diagnostic biomarkers currently exist, and there is significant overlap with malignant, autoimmune, and infectious disorders. An international working group comprising 34 pediatric and adult pathology and clinical experts in iMCD and related disorders from eight countries, including two physicians that are also iMCD patients, was convened to establish iMCD diagnostic criteria. The working group reviewed data from 244 cases, met twice, and refined criteria over 15 months (June 2015 - September 2016). The proposed consensus criteria require both Major Criteria (characteristic lymph node histopathology and multicentric lymphadenopathy), at least 2 of 11 Minor Criteria with at least 1 laboratory abnormality, and exclusion of infectious, malignant, and autoimmune disorders that can mimic iMCD. Characteristic histopathologic features may include a constellation of regressed or hyperplastic germinal centers, follicular dendritic cell prominence, hypervascularization, and polytypic plasmacytosis. Laboratory and clinical Minor Criteria include elevated C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate; anemia; thrombocytopenia or thrombocytosis; hypoalbuminemia; renal dysfunction or proteinuria; polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia; constitutional symptoms; hepatosplenomegaly; effusions or edema; eruptive cherry hemangiomatosis or violaceous papules; and lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis. iMCD consensus diagnostic criteria will facilitate consistent diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and collaborative research.
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              Castleman-Kojima disease (TAFRO syndrome) : a novel systemic inflammatory disease characterized by a constellation of symptoms, namely, thrombocytopenia, ascites (anasarca), microcytic anemia, myelofibrosis, renal dysfunction, and organomegaly : a status report and summary of Fukushima (6 June, 2012) and Nagoya meetings (22 September, 2012).

              Recently, a unique clinicopathologic variant of multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD) has been identified in Japan. This disease is characterized by a constellation of symptoms, as listed in the title, and multiple lymphadenopathy of mild degree with a pathologic diagnosis of atypical CD, often posing diagnostic and therapeutic problems for pathologists and hematologists, respectively. These findings suggest that this disease represents a novel clinical entity belonging to systemic inflammatory disorders with a background of immunological abnormality beyond the ordinal spectrum of MCD. To define this disorder more clearly, Japanese participants presented clinicopathologic data at the Fukushima and Nagoya meetings. Many of the patients presented by the participants were significantly accompanied by a combination of thrombocytopenia, ascites (anasarca), pleural effusions, microcytic anemia, fever, myelofibrosis, renal dysfunction, and organomegaly (TAFRO). Multiple lymphadenopathies were generally of mild degree, less than 1.5 cm in diameter, and consistently featured the histopathology of mixed- or less hyaline vascular-type CD. Autoantibodies were often detected. However, this disease did not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for well-known autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus. Castleman-Kojima disease and TAFRO syndrome (the favored clinical term) were proposed for this disease. The patients were sensitive to steroid and anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody (tocilizumab), but some exhibited a deteriorated clinical course despite the treatment. The participants proposed a future nationwide survey and a Japanese consortium to facilitate further clinical and therapeutic studies of this novel disease. [J Clin Exp Hematop 53(1): 57-61, 2013].

                Author and article information

                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                28 June 2019
                : 10
                1Département de Médecine Interne et Immunologie Clinique, CHU Lille, Centre de Référence des Maladies Auto-Immunes Systémiques Rares du Nord et Nord-Ouest de France (CeRAINO), LIRIC INSERM U995, Université de Lille , Lille, France
                2CHU Lille, Institut d'Immunologie, Université de Lille , Lille, France
                3Département d'Anatomo-Cyto-Pathologie, CHU Lille, Centre de Biologie Pathologie, Université de Lille , Lille, France
                4Département de Néphrologie, CHU Lille, Université de Lille , Lille, France
                5Département des Maladies du Sang, CHU Lille, Université de Lille , Lille, France
                6Department of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, PA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Pier Luigi Meroni, Italian Auxological Institute (IRCCS), Italy

                Reviewed by: Renato Alberto Sinico, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy; Yasufumi Masaki, Kanazawa Medical University, Japan

                *Correspondence: Louis Terriou louis.terriou@

                This article was submitted to Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Disorders, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology

                Copyright © 2019 Leurs, Gnemmi, Lionet, Renaud, Gibier, Copin, Hachulla, Hatron, Launay, Fajgenbaum and Terriou.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 43, Pages: 8, Words: 5579
                Case Report


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