Single light chain subclass (kappa chain) immunoglobulin deposition in glomerulonephritis

Hum Pathol. 1985 Mar;16(3):294-304. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(85)80017-4.


Renal glomerular disease characterized by the deposition of immunoglobulin light chains or monoclonal immunoglobulins was demonstrated by immunofluorescence microscopy in 11 patients. The most common histopathologic findings were those of mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis, but considerable variability was observed. Lesions resembling diabetic glomerulosclerosis and amyloidosis were seen in some patients. Immunofluorescence findings in seven patients showed concomitant, equally intense staining for kappa light chain and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgG or IgA), indicative of monoclonal immunoglobulin deposition. Specimens in the remaining cases stained predominantly for kappa light chain alone. In six cases the histologic and ultrastructural pattern was similar to that of type I mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis. In three cases linear deposits were present, predominantly in subendothelial and inner glomerular basement membranes and, to a lesser degree, in mesangial locations, as in type II mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis. In one of the latter cases dense deposits were intermixed with aggregates of amorphous fibrillar material indistinguishable from amyloid. In two cases involving IgA kappa chain deposition the histologic and ultrastructural appearance was that of mesangial glomerulonephritis. Considerable heterogeneity was found in the clinical features of the patient population. Specific clinical or serologic parameters for this disease could not be identified. Only one patient had an associated lymphoplasmacytic disorder. After follow-up periods ranging from six months to 17 years, all of the patients were alive, including four who had progressed to end-stage renal disease and required dialysis. Two of the latter patients underwent successful renal transplantation; one had been alive for five years and the other for three months without evidence of recurrence of the renal disease at the last follow-up examination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology*
  • Glomerulonephritis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains / analysis*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged


  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains