Glomerulonephritis is a heterogeneous group of disorders that present with a combination of haematuria, proteinuria, hypertension, and reduction in kidney function to a variable degree. Acute presentation with full blown nephritic syndrome or rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis is uncommon and is mainly restricted to patients with post-infectious glomerulonephritis, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies-associated vasculitis, and anti-glomerular basement membrane disease. Most frequently, patients present with asymptomatic haematuria and proteinuria with or without reduced kidney function. All glomerulonephritis disorders can show periods of exacerbation, but disease flairs characteristically occur in patients with IgA nephropathy or C3 glomerulopathy. The gold standard for the diagnosis of a glomerulonephritis is a kidney biopsy, with a hallmark glomerular inflammation that translates into various histopathological patterns depending on the location and severity of the glomerular injury. Traditionally, glomerulonephritis was classified on the basis of the different histopathological patterns of injury. In the last few years, substantial progress has been made in unravelling the underlying causes and pathogenetic mechanisms of glomerulonephritis and a causal approach to the classification of glomerulonephritis is now favoured over a pattern-based approach. As such, glomerulonephritis can be broadly classified as immune-complex glomerulonephritis (including infection-related glomerulonephritis, IgA nephropathy, lupus nephritis, and cryoglobulinaemic glomerulonephritis), anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies-associated (pauci-immune) glomerulonephritis, anti-glomerular basement membrane glomerulonephritis, C3 glomerulopathy, and monoclonal immunoglobulin-associated glomerulonephritis. We provide an overview of the clinical presentation, pathology, and the current therapeutic approach of the main representative disorders in the spectrum of glomerulonephritis.
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