Evolution of ciclosporin nephrotoxicity in patients treated for autoimmune uveitis

Am J Nephrol. 1989;9(5):392-402. doi: 10.1159/000168001.


Among 73 patients treated with ciclosporin (CS) for autoimmune uveitis, a 50% elevation of serum creatinine was observed in 37% within 3 months of starting CS and in 25% after more than 6 months of relatively uncomplicated therapy. Sequential renal function and histologic evaluations were performed in 17 patients to further characterize the nephrotoxic effects of long-term CS therapy. Inulin clearance remained essentially unchanged in 12 patients despite CS dosage reductions in the majority. In 2 such patients, repeat renal biopsy specimens revealed evidence of progressive irreversible kidney injury even though renal function was stable. Inulin clearance decreased substantially in 3 patients; in 1 case a follow-up renal biopsy showed increased severity of chronic histologic change. For 2 patients, the inulin clearance more than doubled after CS dosage reduction; and in 1 of those cases, repeat renal biopsy showed no evidence of progressive renal scarring. Overall, the morphologic attributes of irreversible kidney injury (designated by a chronicity index including glomerular sclerosis, tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis) were increased in 3 of 6 follow-up renal biopsy specimens. Histologic alterations of renal arterioles, including hyaline change, were observed in all CS-treated patients. The hyaline change of arterioles was either extensive in the first renal biopsy specimen or became extensive in the second biopsy in the 3 cases manifesting an increased chronicity index on the follow-up renal biopsy. Thus, parenchymal injury can progress in some cases despite CS dosage reduction and stable renal function; renal arteriolar histologic change is a prominent finding in these patients. Patients that exhibit a substantial improvement in renal function after dosage reduction may experience a more favorable course.

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cyclosporins / adverse effects*
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Time Factors
  • Uveitis / drug therapy*


  • Cyclosporins