A case of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome with acute renal failure showing thrombotic microangiopathy

Am J Nephrol. 1999;19(5):594-8. doi: 10.1159/000013526.


An 18-year-old woman complained of fever and edema and was admitted to Showa University Hospital for treatment of thrombocytopenia and deteriorating renal function. Laboratory studies demonstrated the presence of lupus anticoagulant (LA), prolongation of prothrombin time, hemolytic anemia, a negative Coombs' test, the absence of antinuclear antibodies, and a normal fibrinogen level. Renal biopsy revealed mesangial hypercellularity, severe endocapillary cell damage, and double contour of the basement membrane walls. Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated focal, peripheral, and finely granular deposits for IgG, IgM, and IgA but were negative for fibrinogen. Electron microscopy showed glomerular capillary loops with subendothelial widening and subendothelial deposits, mesangiolysis, mesangial interposition, and marked luminal narrowing. Biopsy findings were consistent with thrombotic microangiopathy. The patient was treated with hemodialysis, methylprednisolone pulse therapy, and dipyridamole. After treatment, LA disappeared, the prothrombin time became normal, and renal function improved. The renal lesions in this patient were caused by primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. This case strongly suggests an important causal relationship between LA and renal lesions in thrombotic microangiopathy. We present this case to promote understanding of the pathogenesis of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / analysis
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / complications*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / immunology
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Glomerular Mesangium / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor / analysis
  • Microcirculation
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology*
  • Thrombocytopenia / pathology
  • Thrombosis / etiology*


  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Lupus Coagulation Inhibitor