Lupus Podocytopathy: An Overview

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2019 Sep;26(5):369-375. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2019.08.011.


In systemic lupus erythematosus, nephrotic-range proteinuria typically signals the presence of a proliferative lupus nephritis (class III/IV) and/or membranous lupus nephritis (class V, with or without concomitant class III or IV lesions). However, in rare instances, systemic lupus erythematosus patients with nephrotic syndrome have kidney biopsy findings of normal glomeruli or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis lesions, with or without mesangial proliferation, on light microscopy; the absence of subepithelial or subendothelial deposits on immunofluorescence and electron microscopy; and diffuse foot process effacement on electron microscopy. This pattern, termed lupus podocytopathy, is a unique form of lupus nephritis that mimics minimal change disease or primary focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and represents approximately 1% of lupus nephritis biopsies. Here we review the clinical features, histological manifestations, diagnostic criteria and classification, pathogenesis, treatment, and prognosis of lupus podocytopathy.

Keywords: Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; Lupus nephritis; Lupus podocytopathy; Minimal change disease; Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus* / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Glomerulus* / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Nephritis* / etiology
  • Lupus Nephritis* / pathology
  • Lupus Nephritis* / physiopathology
  • Lupus Nephritis* / therapy
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / etiology
  • Podocytes / pathology*