Introduction: Membranous glomerulopathy (MG) is a common cause of nephrotic syndrome that results from the formation of immune complexes along the subepithelial aspect of the glomerular basement membranes. Although it is most frequently caused by polytypic deposits, cases with light chain isotype-restricted deposits are rarely seen.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 28 cases of MG that showed light chain isotype restriction.
Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 62.2 years and the male-to-female ratio was 1. All patients presented with proteinuria (73.1% nephrotic range), and the mean serum creatinine was 1.5 mg/dl. Six patients had an underlying lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD), 2 had autoimmune disease, and 1 patient was positive for both hepatitis B and syphilis. Only 1 of the patients with an LPD had a detectable monoclonal Ig. Four patients (14.3%) showed focal proliferation or crescents, 3 of whom had an underlying LPD. Kappa (κ) restriction was seen in 26 of 28 patients (85.7%). Staining for IgG subclasses was performed in 19 cases, 14 of which showed positive staining for a single subclass. PLA2R was positive in 7 of 27 cases. 30% of PLA2R-negative patients and 28.6% of those with positive staining for a single IgG subclass had an associated LPD.
Discussion: The majority of MG cases with light chain isotype-restricted deposits lack a recognizable secondary etiology. However, the absence of PLA2R positivity, positive staining for a single IgG subclass, and presence of focal proliferation are worrisome histopathologic features that should prompt a thorough clinical workup to exclude the presence of an underlying LPD.
Keywords: MGRS; PLA2R; membranous glomerulopathy; monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance; proliferative glomerulonephritis with monoclonal IgG deposits.