Purpose of review: Recurrent glomerulonephritis is the third most common cause of graft failure, ranking only behind immunologic rejection and death with a functioning graft. Knowledge of the rates and timing of recurrent glomerular disease are important in counseling potential transplant recipients and preventive and therapeutic treatment strategies are necessary for those patients at risk.
Recent findings: Large observational studies that have analyzed posttransplant biopsies have confirmed the high rates of glomerular disease recurrence in renal allografts. Newer immunosuppressive protocols over the past 10 years have not affected the rate of disease recurrence or graft loss. There is emerging evidence that rituximab may be efficacious in treating recurrent membranous nephropathy and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; however, larger clinical trials are warranted.
Summary: Recurrent glomerulonephritis is an important determinant of long-term outcomes after transplantation, requiring appropriate counseling to potential transplant recipients. Currently, there are no proven strategies to prevent recurrent glomerulonephritis in renal transplant recipients. Despite the high rates of recurrent disease, long-term graft survival is still very good and transplantation remains the best treatment option for patients with end-stage renal disease from primary glomerulonephritis.