Zonal distribution of glomerular collapse in renal allografts: possible role of vascular changes

Hum Pathol. 2002 Apr;33(4):437-41. doi: 10.1053/hupa.2002.124333.


Collapsing glomerulopathy (CG), an aggressive variant of focal segmental glomerular sclerosis, is a renal disease with severe proteinuria and rapidly progressive renal failure. The pathogenesis of CG is unknown. It strongly resembles human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated nephropathy, but the patients are HIV negative. The characteristic glomerular lesion is capillary loop collapse with prominent podocytes filling Bowman's space. Interestingly, these glomerular changes are usually associated with severe tubulointerstitial injury, including tubular epithelial degenerative changes, microcystic dilation of several tubules, and interstitial inflammatory cell infiltrate. Recently, it became evident that the morphologic pattern of CG may appear not only in native kidneys, but also de novo in renal allografts, and that the pattern of CG in renal transplants is not always associated with severe proteinuria. Studies describing CG in renal allografts are all based on biopsies. We report 3 allograft nephrectomy specimens that showed a zonal distribution of the characteristic collapsing glomerular changes with associated tubulointerstitial injury. All 3 kidneys had obliterative vascular changes. One nephrectomy specimen had chronic obliterative transplant arteriopathy, 1 had acute vascular rejection, and 1 had thrombotic microangiopathy. None of the patients had severe proteinuria. Our cases suggest that the morphologic pattern of CG in renal allografts may not represent the same disease process as CG in native kidneys and provide further evidence that collapsing glomerular changes do not define the disease entity of CG, but rather represent a pattern of renal injury. Among other factors, hemodynamic disturbance may play a role in the development of the pattern of CG in renal allografts.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Female
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / diagnosis
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / etiology
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / pathology*
  • Graft Rejection
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Kidney / blood supply*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Nephrectomy
  • Proteinuria
  • Renal Artery / pathology
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Immunosuppressive Agents