IgG4-related kidney disease

Kidney Int. 2014 Feb;85(2):251-7. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.393. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


IgG4-related kidney disease (IgG4-RKD) is a comprehensive term for renal lesions associated with IgG4-related disease, which is a recently recognized clinical entity characterized by a dense lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate rich in IgG4-positive plasma cells with fibrosis affecting several organs. Tubulointerstitial nephritis with increased IgG4-positive plasma cells and fibrosis is the most dominant feature of IgG4-RKD and may cause acute or chronic renal dysfunction, although some glomerular lesions such as membranous nephropathy are sometimes evident. Radiologically, several characteristic abnormalities are often demonstrated, sometimes mimicking malignancies. IgG4-RKD predominantly affects middle-aged to elderly men, and most patients have accompanying IgG4-related extrarenal lesions such as sialadenitis, lymphadenopathy, or type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis. Serology usually demonstrates high levels of serum total IgG and IgG4, and high levels of serum IgE and hypocomplementemia are also frequent features. Corticosteroid therapy is usually quite effective, leading to amelioration of the renal dysfunction and radiological and serological abnormalities. However, as any delay in treatment may result in irreversible renal failure, early diagnosis and appropriate therapy are very important. Despite these distinctive clinicopathological features of IgG4-RKD, its pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Awareness of this condition and accumulation of more cases worldwide are necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / immunology*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / blood
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / complications
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / drug therapy
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / immunology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Renal Insufficiency / immunology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G