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      Appearance of Nephrotic Syndrome following Interferon-α Therapy in a Patient with Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus Coinfection

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          A 59-year-old woman with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C viral (HCV) antibody presented with proteinuria and hematuria. The patient was treated with interferon-alpha (INF-α) because plasma aminotransferase levels had been elevated and a liver biopsy had showed chronic active hepatitis. Her urinary protein excretion decreased as liver function normalized and her serum HCV-RNA was negative during treatment. Eleven weeks after completion of INF-α treatment, she suddenly presented with nephrotic-range proteinuria, although an improvement in the hepatic function was maintained. Renal pathologic findings were consistent with membranous glomerulonephritis (MGN), and HBsAg was detected in the glomeruli but not HCV. After treatment with prednisolone, her 24-hour protein excretion was below 0.7 g/day. To our knowledge this is the first report on hepatitis B virus MGN with nephrotic syndrome following IFN-α therapy for HCV. This suggests that treatment with INF-α might affect the immune processes and may be associated with the pathogenic mechanism in this patient.

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          Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis associated with hepatitis C virus infection.

          Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes both acute and chronic liver disease and is also associated with mixed cryoglobulinemia. Whether HCV is also associated with renal disease, as is the hepatitis B virus, is not known. We describe the clinical, pathologic, virologic, and immunologic features of eight patients with HCV infection who were referred to nephrologists for glomerulonephritis. Four patients were treated with interferon alfa. All eight patients had proteinuria, and seven had decreased renal function. Renal biopsy in all patients revealed membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, characterized by the deposition of IgG, IgM, and C3 in glomeruli. Electron microscopy of the biopsy specimens showed cryoglobulin-like structures in three of four patients. All eight patients had HCV RNA detected in their serum, elevated serum aminotransferase concentrations, and hypocomplementemia, and the majority had cryoglobulins and circulating immune complexes in their serum. Cryoprecipitates from the three patients who were tested contained HCV RNA and IgG anti-HCV antibodies to the nucleocapsid core antigen (HCVc or c22-3). IgM rheumatoid factors, present in all patients, bound anti-HCV IgG in all six patients tested. Four patients received interferon alfa for 2 to 12 months; all had evidence of decreased HCV replication and improvement of their renal and liver disease. Chronic HCV infection is associated with cryoglobulinemia and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. The pathogenesis is unknown, but may relate to deposition within glomeruli of immune complexes containing HCV, anti-HCV IgG, and IgM rheumatoid factors.

            Author and article information

            Am J Nephrol
            American Journal of Nephrology
            S. Karger AG
            October 1998
            10 September 1998
            : 18
            : 5
            : 439-443
            a Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo, and b Department of Pathology, Kashiwa Hospital, Jikei University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan
            13367 Am J Nephrol 1998;18:439–443
            © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Figures: 3, References: 23, Pages: 5
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