, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 263-274
Date: 17 Apr 2009

Current status and issues of C1q nephropathy

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C1q nephropathy, first proposed by Jennette and Hipp [Am J Clin Pathol 83:415-420, 1985; Am J Kidney Dis 6:103-110, 1985], was described as a distinct glomerular disease entity characterized by extensive mesangial deposition of C1q, with associated mesangial immune complexes, and the absence of any clinical and laboratory evidence of systemic lupus erythematosus. Now, 20 years since the first report, the disease entity is gradually attaining recognition, particularly in the field of pediatrics. C1q is the subcomponent of C1 in the classical pathway of complement activation. Generally, C1q deposition is caused by the activation of C1 by immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM; therefore, C1q nephropathy is considered as an immune complex glomerulonephritis. However, in C1q nephropathy, it remains unclear whether the deposition of C1q in the glomeruli is in response to the deposition of immunoglobulin or immune complex, or whether deposition is non-specific trapping that accompanies increased glomerular protein trafficking associated with proteinuria. Since not only the pathogenesis of C1q deposition in glomeruli but also its significance are still uncertain, it has not yet been established as an independent disease. From recent publications of the clinical and pathological characterizations, C1q nephropathy has been thought to be a subgroup of primary focal segmental glomerular sclerosis. However, many reports describe different symptoms, histopathologies, therapeutic responses and prognoses, suggesting that C1q nephropathy is not a single disease entity, but that it may be a combination of several disease groups. There are many uncertain areas requiring further investigation, though it is hoped that a detailed examination of future cases will clarify the subgroups making up C1q nephropathy and their clinicopathological characteristics, and will lead to the establishment of C1q nephropathy as an independent disease entity.