Pathologic differentiation between lupus and nonlupus membranous glomerulopathy

Kidney Int. 1983 Sep;24(3):377-85. doi: 10.1038/ki.1983.170.


The following clinical and pathologic features were evaluated in 170 patients with electron microscopically documented membranous glomerulopathy: age, sex, race, American Rheumatism Association lupus criteria, serum ANA, serum complement, glomerular hypercellularity, stage of subepithelial dense deposits, endothelial tubuloreticular inclusions, tubular basement membrane deposits, tissue ANA, glomerular deposition of IgG, IgM, IgA, C3, C4, and Clq. At the time of biopsy 148 patients had no clinical evidence for lupus, and 22 had a clinical diagnosis of lupus. Six additional patients eventually developed overt lupus after an average of 12 months. Incidences of serologic and pathologic features in lupus as compared with nonlupus membranous glomerulopathy were determined. These data were used to calculate sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and overall efficiency of each parameter in differentiating between lupus and nonlupus membranous glomerulopathy. In general, serologic, morphologic and immunohistopathologic features are more accurate at ruling out lupus than making the diagnosis of lupus. However, a number of features are significantly more frequent in lupus membranous glomerulopathy. Therefore, identification of these features, especially more than one, warrants a high suspicion of lupus rather than nonlupus membranous glomerulopathy even in patients without clinically overt systemic lupus erythematosus. The positive/negative predictive values of some of the pathologic features studied are as follows: mesangial dense deposits 63/99, subendothelial dense deposits 77/93, tubuloreticular inclusions 61/96, intense C1q deposition 47/95, tubular basement membrane deposits 100/87, and glomerular hypercelularity 26/86.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Complement System Proteins / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / immunology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / ultrastructure*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Complement System Proteins