Changes in the aetiology, clinical presentation and management of acute interstitial nephritis, an increasingly common cause of acute kidney injury

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015 Sep;30(9):1472-9. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfu326. Epub 2014 Oct 16.


Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is an important cause of acute kidney injury that has experienced significant epidemiological and clinical changes in the last years. The classical presentation, mostly induced by antibiotics and accompanied by evident hypersensitivity manifestations (skin rash, eosinophilia, fever) has been largely replaced by oligosymptomatic presentations that require a higher index of suspicion and are increasingly recognized in the elderly, having non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and proton pump inhibitors as frequent offending drugs. Drug-induced AIN continues to be the commonest type, but it requires a careful differential diagnosis with other entities (tubulointerstitial nephritis with uveitis syndrome, IgG4-related disease, drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptom syndrome, sarcoidosis and other systemic diseases) that can also induce AIN. Cortico-dependant, relapsing AIN is a recently recognized entity that poses an important therapeutic challenge. Although corticosteroids are widely used in drug-induced AIN to speed kidney function recovery and avoid chronic kidney disease, their efficacy has not been tested by randomized controlled trials. New diagnostic tests and biomarkers, as well as prospective therapeutic studies are needed to improve AIN diagnosis and management.

Keywords: AKI in the elderly; acute interstitial nephritis; corticosteroids; proton pump inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology*
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / complications*
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / physiopathology*
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / prevention & control