Pattern of glomerular involvement in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients: an Italian study

Am J Kidney Dis. 1995 Sep;26(3):446-53. doi: 10.1016/0272-6386(95)90490-5.


Renal biopsy specimens from 26 adult human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with glomerular involvement were reviewed from the files of three hospital pathology services in Northern Italy. All the patients were Italian and most (19 of 26 patients) were intravenous drug addicts. The types of glomerular lesions were as follows: minimal-change glomerulopathy (two cases), mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (GN) with scanty immunoglobulin deposits (four cases), and various patterns of immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis, including postinfectious GN (six cases), membranoproliferative GN (one case), membranous GN (three cases), immunoglobulin (Ig) A nephropathy (four cases), a mixed membranous and proliferative (three cases) and diffuse proliferative lupus-like pattern with subendothelial deposits, and intraluminal thrombi (two cases) or subepithelial and subendothelial deposits (one case). None of the patients had evidence of HIV-associated nephropathy. Our study confirms previous observations on the low incidence of HIV-associated nephropathy among white HIV-infected patients in Europe, where immune complex-mediated GN seems to predominate. Apart from the frequent electron microscopic observation of endothelial tubuloreticular structures, none of the reported lesions could be distinguished on morphologic grounds from those occurring in uninfected patients. The high variability of the glomerular lesions upholds the need for accurate diagnosis for the clinician confronted with an HIV-positive patient with suspected glomerular involvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Blotting, Western
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / etiology
  • HIV Infections / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / virology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications