Clinical, biopsy, and mass spectrometry findings of renal gelsolin amyloidosis

Kidney Int. 2017 Apr;91(4):964-971. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.11.017. Epub 2017 Jan 29.


Gelsolin amyloidosis is a rare type of amyloidosis typically involving the cranial and peripheral nerves, but rarely the kidney. Here we report the clinical, kidney biopsy, and mass spectrometry findings in 12 cases of renal gelsolin amyloidosis. Of the 12 patients, five were men and seven were women with mean age at diagnosis of 63.8 years. Gelsolin amyloidosis was most common in Caucasians (six patients) and Asians (four patients), and included one each African-American and Hispanic patients. Nephrotic syndrome was the most common cause of biopsy, although most patients also had progressive loss of kidney function. Hematological and serological evaluation was negative in 11 patients, while one patient had a monoclonal gammopathy. The renal biopsy showed large amounts of pale eosinophilic Congo red-positive amyloid deposits typically restricted to the glomeruli. Immunofluorescence studies were negative for immunoglobulins in nine cases with three cases of smudgy glomerular staining for IgG. Electron microscopy showed mostly random arrangement of amyloid fibrils with focally parallel bundles/sheets of amyloid fibrils present. Laser microdissection of the amyloid deposits followed by mass spectrometry showed large spectra numbers for gelsolin, serum amyloid P component, and apolipoproteins E and AIV. Furthermore, the p. Asn211Lys gelsolin mutation on mass spectrometry studies was detected in three patients by mass spectrometry, which appears to represent a renal-limited form of gelsolin amyloidosis. Thus, renal gelsolin amyloidosis is seen in older patients, presents with nephrotic syndrome and progressive chronic kidney disease, and histologically exhibits glomerular involvement. The diagnosis can be confirmed by mass spectrometry studies.

Keywords: amyloid; gelsolin; kidney; laser microdissection; mass spectrometry.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyloidosis / complications
  • Amyloidosis / diagnosis*
  • Amyloidosis / metabolism
  • Amyloidosis / pathology
  • Apolipoproteins A / analysis
  • Apolipoproteins E / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biopsy*
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / complications
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / diagnosis*
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / metabolism
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gelsolin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kidney / chemistry*
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / etiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / etiology
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / analysis
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry*


  • ApoE protein, human
  • Apolipoproteins A
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Biomarkers
  • Gelsolin
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component
  • apolipoprotein A-IV

Supplementary concepts

  • Meretoja syndrome