Background: Primary or secondary glomerulonephritis has been anecdotally reported in association with atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS). We here report a series of six patients who developed aHUS and glomerulopathy, and review the literature on aHUS and glomerulonephritis.
Methods: Out of all patients diagnosed at our unit with biopsy-proven glomerular diseases between March 2007 and October 2011, selected cases developing aHUS during the follow-up are presented. The following tests were performed in all six patients: serum C3 and C4 levels, ADAMTS13 activity, CFH levels and anti-CFH autoantibodies and genetic screening for CFH, MCP, CFI, C3 and CFHR1-3 mutations and risk haplotypes associated with aHUS.
Results: Two hundred and forty-eight patients received a biopsy-proven diagnosis of glomerulopathy and were followed for a median of 31 months (range 2-58). Of these, six developed aHUS, within a median of 15 months (range 1-36) of their initial diagnosis of glomerulopathy. One of these patients had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), two membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) type I, one C3 glomerulonephritis and two systemic small vessel vasculitis [one granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's), one Henoch-Schoenlein purpura]. Five patients (one of them heterozygous for a CFH mutation) carried, in homo- or heterozygosity, the risk haplotype CFH-H3 (CFH tgtgt), previously described to be associated with aHUS, while another one patient was homozygous for the MCPggaac risk haplotype predisposing to aHUS when present on both alleles.
Conclusions: Different types of glomerulopathies can be complicated by aHUS. Several mechanisms can contribute to this association, such as nephrotic-range proteinuria, mutations or aHUS-risk haplotypes involving genes encoding alternative complement regulatory proteins in some patients and inflammatory triggers associated with systemic immune-mediated diseases.
Keywords: atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome; glomerulonephritis; nephrotic syndrome; thrombotic microangiopathy; vasculitis.