Clinicopathological Characteristics and Impacts on Clinical Outcomes of Thrombotic Microangiopathy Lesions in Patients with Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy in Thailand

Am J Nephrol. 2023;54(7-8):308-318. doi: 10.1159/000531693. Epub 2023 Jul 10.


Introduction: More reports of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) in immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy suggest its association with poor clinical outcomes. However, the prevalence and clinical significance of TMA in IgA nephropathy have not been widely studied in different populations.

Methods: Kidney biopsies of all patients with primary IgA nephropathy from 1995 to 2015 at the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thailand, were retrospectively reviewed and reclassified by two pathologists following the Oxford MEST-C classification. TMA lesions were detected based solely on light microscopic findings. Associations between the presence of TMA and clinical data, other pathologic findings, and clinical outcomes were studied.

Results: Among 267 patients with primary IgA nephropathy, 166 had adequate clinical data and kidney tissues for the analysis. TMA was observed in 21 patients (13%) and was associated with higher mean arterial pressure (MAP), history of malignant hypertension, higher proteinuria, and lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at diagnosis compared to those without TMA. According to the Oxford MEST-C classification, TMA showed a significant association with severe tubular atrophy/interstitial fibrosis (T2) but not with mesangial hypercellularity (M1), endocapillary hypercellularity (E1), segmental glomerulosclerosis (S1), or crescents (C1-2). After a median follow-up of 50 months, patients with TMA had a significantly higher risk of progression to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) (hazard ratio [HR] 5.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.1-10.9) and all-cause mortality (HR 3.4, 95% CI: 1.3-8.8). After adjusting for baseline eGFR, MAP, proteinuria, and other pathological lesions, TMA remained an independent predictor of ESKD (adjusted HR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1-5.4).

Conclusions: Kidney TMA in IgA nephropathy is associated with advanced disease stages, carries a poor prognosis, and thus should be considered in the pathological classification of IgA nephropathy.

Keywords: Immunoglobulin A nephropathy; Pathological classification; Prognosis; Thrombotic microangiopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA* / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA* / epidemiology
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Proteinuria / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies* / complications
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies* / etiology