, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 227-235

Glomerular Membranopathy in Children with IgA Nephropathy and Henoch Schönlein Purpura

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We evaluated renal biopsies from 34 children with IgA nephropathy or Henoch Schönlein purpura to further characterize the ultrastructural features of the glomerular membranopathy that occurs in these disorders. Focal glomerular basement membrane damage was identified in 29 children and was severe in 4 of the children. Alterations included focal and segmental attenuation, splitting, duplications, and spike-like subepithelial protrusions of the lamina densa, along with saccular glomerular microaneurysms arising at the paramesangium. Those cases with extensive glomerular basement membrane lesions had either moderate or severe glomerular alterations apparent by light microscopy. Over half of the cases with glomerular membranopathy had immunohistological or ultrastructural evidence of focal peripheral glomerular capillary wall immune deposits and electron-dense deposits occurred at sites of glomerular basement membrane splitting. Despite the focal attenuation of the glomerular basement membrane, we did not identify any biopsy with findings of thin basement membrane disease. The glomerular basement membrane ultrastructural findings we describe are characteristic of IgA nephropathy and Henoch Schönlein purpura, are common in children with these disorders, and are similar to the ultrastructural alterations of the basement membrane that occur in other glomerulonephritides. These basement membrane injuries may be inflammatory cell or immune mediated but their pathogenesis requires further study.