Collapsing glomerulopathy in older adults

Mod Pathol. 2019 Apr;32(4):532-538. doi: 10.1038/s41379-018-0154-z. Epub 2018 Oct 16.


Collapsing glomerulopathy has been described in settings of viral infections, drug, genetic, ischemic, renal transplant, and idiopathic conditions. It has a worse prognosis than other morphologic variants of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and may be treated with aggressive immunosuppression. In this study, we sought to characterize the clinical and morphologic findings in older adults with collapsing glomerulopathy. Renal biopsies and associated clinical data from patients aged 65 or older with a diagnosis of collapsing glomerulopathy were retrospectively reviewed at 3 academic institutions. Patients (n = 41, 61% male, median age 71) usually had hypertension (88%), nephrotic range proteinuria (91%), and renal insufficiency (median serum creatinine 2.5 mg/dL). A likely precipitating drug (5%) or vascular procedure (5%) was identified in a minority of cases; viral infections were infrequent. Renal biopsies contained a median of 40% globally and 16% segmentally sclerotic glomeruli. Approximately 60% of cases had moderate or severe arteriosclerosis, arteriolar hyalinosis, and/or tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis; 7% had atheroembolic disease and 5% had thrombotic microangiopathy. In 28 patients with available follow-up information, eight (19%) were treated with immunosuppressives, which were not tolerated by 2. At a median interval of 14 months, 5 (18%) patients had died, 12 (43%) had end stage renal disease, and 12 were alive with renal insufficiency and proteinuria. Treatment with immunosuppressive therapy did not have a significant benefit with regard to the primary outcome of overall or renal survival. One steroid-treated patient with diabetes died 6 weeks after biopsy, with invasive rhinoorbital Rhizopus infection. In conclusion, collapsing glomerulopathy in older patients is usually not associated with viral infections, and is accompanied by significant chronic injury in glomeruli, vasculature, and tubulointerstitium. Aggressive immunosuppression likely contributed to one death in a patient with diabetes, and did not yield an overall or renal survival advantage in this cohort.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies