Histopathological changes and tumour necrosis factor-alpha, transforming growth factor-beta and tenascin expression in patients with primary type I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis in remission

Nephrology (Carlton). 2009 Apr;14(2):219-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1797.2008.01048.x.


Aim: Primary type I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is a rare cause of glomerular disease with a high relapse rate and poor prognosis. The aim of this study was: (i) to evaluate the histopathological findings associated with remission; and (ii) to document the possible clinical and histopathological factors predicting relapses.

Methods: Eleven type I MPGN patients (five men, six women; mean age, 38.8+/-13.5 years) who were in remission for at least 1 year after the cessation of immunosuppressive drugs were re-biopsied. The intensity of immunostaining for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, and tenascin was graded from 0 (no staining) to 3+ (maximum staining).

Results: Mean baseline mesangial cellularity score and tubulointerstitial infiltration score were reduced and mesangial matrix expansion score was increased at protocol re-biopsies compared to baseline. The glomerular and tubulointerstitial staining scores for TGF-beta1 and tenascin were higher than that of baseline. Reduced tubulointerstitial TNF-alpha expression was found in re-biopsy specimens compared to baseline. Patients have been followed for a mean time of 51.5+/-22.2 months after the protocol biopsy. Eight patients had a relapse. Mesangial cellularity score and glomerular tenascin expression at re-biopsy specimens were higher in relapsed patients compared to those without a relapse.

Conclusion: Our study shows that mesangial cellularity and tubulointerstitial cell infiltration are reducing whereas mesangial matrix expansion, glomerular and tubulointerstitial TGF-beta1 and tenascin expression are increasing with remission. The higher mesangial cell proliferation and glomerular tenascin scores in remission are associated with the development of relapse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / metabolism
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tenascin / analysis*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / analysis*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis*


  • Tenascin
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha