The ISN/RPS 2003 classification of lupus nephritis: an assessment at 3 years

Kidney Int. 2007 Mar;71(6):491-5. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Jan 31.


The 2003 International Society of Nephrology (ISN)/Renal Pathology Society (RPS) Classification of lupus nephritis (LN) was designed to eliminate ambiguities and standardize definitions. Major changes from the 1982 Modified WHO Classification include the elimination of the normal biopsy category and the subcategories of membranous Class V, the introduction of sharper distinctions between the classes, and the addition of subcategories within diffuse LN (class IV) for predominantly segmental (LN IV-S) and global (LN IV-G) lesions. It stipulates that sclerotic glomeruli owing to scarred LN should be taken into account when assessing the percentage of glomeruli affected by LN. Since its publication, the ISN/RPS classification has been used successfully in a number of clinical-pathologic studies. Several studies addressing the relationship between LN IV-S and LN IV-G have failed to identify a significantly worse outcome in IV-S than IV-G, although there were some differences in presenting clinical and pathologic features. Importantly, the ISN/RPS classification has achieved its goal of improved interobserver reproducibility. Its use has increased the percentage of LN biopsies meeting criteria for class IV. As it gains widespread acceptance, the ISN/RPS classification is already providing a standardized approach to renal biopsy interpretation needed to compare outcome data across centers.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Lupus Nephritis / classification*
  • Observer Variation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sclerosis / pathology
  • Societies, Medical