IgG4-related disease: a clinical perspective

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2020 May 1;59(Suppl 3):iii123-iii131. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kez667.


IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a recently recognized fibro-inflammatory disorder that can affect almost any organ. Common presentations include major salivary and lacrimal gland enlargement, orbital disease, autoimmune pancreatitis, retroperitoneal fibrosis and tubulointerstitial nephritis. The main histopathological features are a dense, polyclonal, lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate rich in IgG4+ plasma cells, storiform fibrosis and obliterative phlebitis. The precise pathogenic mechanisms of IgG4-RD are still unclear. CD4+ T and B cells, including IgG4-expressing plasmablasts, constitute the major inflammatory cell populations and are believed to cause organ damage and tissue fibrosis. The diagnosis of the disease may be challenging and should be based on specific histopathological findings, typical laboratory and radiological aspects and an appropriate clinical context. The first-line treatment of IgG4-RD is based on glucocorticoids, which are usually efficacious. However, B cell depletion induced by rituximab has also been found to induce remission in steroid-resistant disease or has been used as steroid-sparing agent for relapsing disease. This review provides an update on clinical and therapeutic aspects of IgG4-RD.

Keywords: IgG4; glucocorticoids; periaortitis; retroperitoneal fibrosis; rituximab.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G4-Related Disease / diagnosis*
  • Immunoglobulin G4-Related Disease / therapy*