Renal amyloidosis: an update on diagnosis and pathogenesis

Protoplasma. 2020 Sep;257(5):1259-1276. doi: 10.1007/s00709-020-01513-0. Epub 2020 May 24.


Amyloidosis is a diverse group of protein conformational disorder which is caused by accumulation and deposition of insoluble protein fibrils in vital tissues or organs, instigating organ dysfunction. Renal amyloidosis is characterized by the acellular Congo red-positive pathologic deposition of amyloid fibrils within glomeruli and/or the interstitium. It is generally composed of serum amyloid A-related protein or an immunoglobulin light chain; other rare forms lysozyme, gelsolin, fibrinogen alpha chain, transthyretin, apolipoproteins AI/AII/AIV/CII/CIII; and the recently identified form ALECT2. This disease typically manifests with heavy proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome, and finally progression to end-stage renal failure. Early diagnosis of renal amyloidosis is arduous as its symptoms appear in later stages with prominent amyloid deposition. The identification of the correct type of amyloidosis is quite troublesome as it can be confused with another related form. Therefore, the exact typing of amyloid is essential for prognosis, treatment, and correct management of renal amyloidosis. The emanation of new techniques of proteomic analysis, for instance, mass spectroscopy/laser microdissection, has provided greater accuracy in amyloid typing. This in-depth review emphasizes on the clinical features, renal pathological findings, and diagnosis of the AL and non-AL forms of renal amyloidosis.

Keywords: AL amyloidosis; Amyloid typing; Hereditary amyloidosis; Laser microdissection; Mass spectrometry; Renal amyloidosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis / diagnosis*
  • Amyloidosis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Prognosis