Lupus nephritis in children: prognostic significance of clinicopathological findings

Nephron. 2001 Feb;87(2):118-26. doi: 10.1159/000045899.


Background: We aimed to review our experience with childhood lupus nephritis (LN) in respect to the analysis of the clinical and histopathological presentation of LN and prognostic factors affecting the kidney and patient outcomes.

Method: Forty-three children (39 girls, 4 boys) with biopsy-proven LN were included in the study. The mean age of the children was 12.0 +/- 2.8 years. Based on the renal histopathology and clinical presentation, patients were treated with oral prednisone, intravenous pulses of methylprednisolone or intravenous cyclophosphamide. The final clinical status was classified as follows: (1) renal and extrarenal remission; (2) clinically active renal disease, or (3) adverse outcome, i.e., end-stage renal failure (ESRF) or death.

Results: The mean duration of follow-up was 7.2 +/- 2.8 years (1 month to 14.2 years). All 43 children had hematuria and 53.5% had proteinuria at admission. Fourteen children were in nephrotic status at the onset of disease. Class IV (diffuse proliferative) nephritis was observed in 29 patients as the most frequent histopathology (67.4%). The patients with class IV nephritis had a tendency to develop nephrotic syndrome, heavy proteinuria, increased Cr levels and persistent hypertension at initial evaluation. Thirty-two of 43 children (74.4%) were in renal remission at the last visit. Five-year kidney and patient survival rates from the time of diagnosis to the endpoints of ESRF or death were 83.7 and 90.7% respectively in the whole group while it was 75.9 and 86.2% respectively in the class IV group. Adverse outcome was significantly associated with the persistent hypertension, anemia, high serum Cr level, heavy proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome and class IV nephritis at presentation.

Conclusion: We can conclude that the prognosis of LN in children is primarily dependent on the histopathological lesions. Severity of the clinical renal disease at admission and presence of persistent hypertension are the main poor prognostic factors rather than age, gender, low C3 and C4 levels, ANA positivity and the treatment modalities in Turkish children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Lupus Nephritis / diagnosis
  • Lupus Nephritis / drug therapy
  • Lupus Nephritis / pathology*
  • Lupus Nephritis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / etiology
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Proteinuria / etiology
  • Turkey


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Creatinine
  • Prednisone
  • Methylprednisolone