IgG (mainly IgG3) is the most commonly involved isotype in proliferative glomerulonephritis with monoclonal immunoglobulin deposits (PGNMID). Here we describe the first series of PGNMID with deposition of monoclonal immunoglobulin light chain only (PGNMID-light chain). This multicenter cohort of 17 patients presented with nephritic or nephrotic syndrome with underlying hematologic conditions of monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance (71%) or multiple myeloma (29%). Monoclonal immunoglobulin was identified by serum and urine immunofixation in 65% and 73%, respectively, with abnormal serum free light chain in 83%, and a detectable bone marrow plasma cell clone in 88% of patients. Renal biopsy showed a membranoproliferative pattern in most patients. By immunofluorescence, deposits were restricted to glomeruli and composed of restricted light chain (kappa in 71%) and C3, with granular appearance and subendothelial, mesangial and subepithelial distribution by electron microscopy. Proteomic analysis in four cases of kappa PGNMID-light chain revealed spectra for kappa constant and variable domains, without evidence of Ig heavy chains; spectra for proteins of the alternative pathway of complement and terminal complex were detected in three. The classical pathway was not detected in three cases. After median follow up of 70 months, the renal response was dependent on a hematologic response and occurred in six of ten patients treated with plasma cell-directed chemotherapy but none of five patients receiving other therapies. Thus, PGNMID-light chain differs from PGNMID-IgG by higher frequency of a detectable pathogenic plasma cell clone. Hence, proper recognition is crucial as anti-myeloma agents may improve renal prognosis. Activation of an alternative pathway of complement by monoclonal immunoglobulin light chain likely plays a role in its pathogenesis.
- complement alternative pathway
- membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
- monoclonal gammopathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas