Immunoglobulin G4-related lung disease: clinicoradiological and pathological features

Respirology. 2013 Apr;18(3):480-7. doi: 10.1111/resp.12016.


Background and objective: Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease is a multi-organ disorder that can include the lungs. IgG4-related lung disease can present in various forms; the clinical, radiological and pathological features of patients with this disease have been assessed.

Methods: Forty-eight patients suspected of having IgG4-related lung disease, with a high serum concentration of IgG4 and abundant IgG4-positive plasma cell infiltration into the intrathoracic organs, were retrospectively evaluated. Their clinical features, chest imaging findings and pathological findings were examined, with final diagnoses made by an open panel conference.

Results: Of the 48 patients, 18 with extrathoracic manifestations were diagnosed as having IgG4-related lung disease. Most of these patients were middle-aged to elderly men. IgG4-related lung disease was characterized by high serum concentrations of IgG and IgG4, normal white blood cell count and serum C-reactive protein concentration and a good response to corticosteroids. Common radiological findings included mediastinal lymphadenopathy and thickening of the perilymphatic interstitium, with or without subpleural and/or peribronchovascular consolidation. Pathological examination showed massive lymphoplasmacytic infiltration with fibrosis in and around the lymphatic routes, with distribution well correlated with radiological manifestations.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that the intrathoracic manifestations of IgG4-related lung disease develop through lymphatic routes of the lungs and show various clinical characteristics. Because some lymphoproliferative disorders show similar findings, the correlation of clinicoradiological and pathological characteristics is crucial for the diagnosis of IgG4-related lung disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / immunology*
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraproteinemias / diagnosis
  • Paraproteinemias / immunology*
  • Paraproteinemias / metabolism
  • Plasma Cells / immunology
  • Plasma Cells / pathology
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*


  • Immunoglobulin G