Karyomegalic interstitial nephritis: report of 3 new cases and review of the literature

Clin Nephrol. 2006 May;65(5):349-55. doi: 10.5414/cnp65349.


Karyomegalic interstitial nephritis is a rare, but perhaps an "underdiagnosed" condition. Peculiar nuclear changes characterize it, involving mainly tubular cells along with glomeruli and blood vessels. Herein, 3 bioptically proven new cases of patients with chronic renal failure are discussed. The first case had a recently diagnosed karyomegalic nephritis which, to date, still does not require dialysis. The other 2 (brother and sister) required dialysis 4 and 1 years after diagnosis. Karyomegalic changes were found not only in the skin and duodenal biopsies of the male, in skin and liver biopsies of the female and in the urine cells of both patients, but also in several organs (brain, thyroid, lung, esophagus, arteries) as shown at the autopsy of the female. There was a fatal outcome for both patients. The data reported in this study emphasize the usefulness of pathologic investigation of both tissue and urine samples in the identification of this disease. Moreover, as karyomegalic interstitial nephritis is strongly suspected to have a genetic background, its identification may well not only be of clinical relevance, due to its ominous outcome, but may also bear eugenetic value.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Cortex / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / pathology
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / genetics
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / pathology*