Minimal change disease in systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Nephrol. 2002 Feb;57(2):120-6. doi: 10.5414/cnp57120.


We report the clinical and pathologic findings in 7 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and minimal change disease. All 7 patients presented with full nephrotic syndrome including peripheral edema, nephrotic range proteinuria (mean 9.6 g/day), and hypoalbuminemia (mean 1.8 g/dl). In all cases, renal biopsy revealed diffuse foot process effacement in the absence of significant peripheral capillary wall immune deposits, findings consistent with minimal-change disease. In addition, 5 cases displayed mesangial electron-dense deposits, with or without associated mesangial proliferation, consistent with underlying lupus nephritis class II. In all cases, steroid therapy induced a rapid remission of nephrotic syndrome. Minimal change disease is an underrecognized and readily reversible form of nephrotic syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus. Because it may occur superimposed on mild mesangial proliferative lupus nephritis, this entity may be misinterpreted as an atypical presentation of lupus nephritis class II. Proper recognition of this entity requires careful integration of the renal biopsy immunofluorescence and electron microscopic findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrosis, Lipoid / complications
  • Nephrosis, Lipoid / pathology*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / complications
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / pathology