A 63-year-old man with systemic lupus erythematosus developed tubular proteinuria. All subclasses of serum IgG increased, and the largest IgG subclass increase was IgG4. A renal biopsy showed lupus nephritis (Class II) with severe tubulointerstitial nephritis (so-called predominant tubulointerstitial lupus nephritis, an unusual form of lupus nephritis). Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed positive granular staining for IgG, C3 and C1q in the mesangium and peritubular interstitium, and along the tubular basement membranes (TBM). Electron microscopy also showed electron-dense deposits in the mesangium and TBM. Immunophenotyping of interstitial infiltrating cells disclosed a predominance of T cells. CD8-positive cytotoxic T cells infiltrated the peritubular interstitium, and some of these cells infiltrated the tubules. B cell-rich lymphoid follicles were also observed. IgG subclass analyses showed glomerular IgG1, IgG2 and IgG4 deposition, positive staining of IgG4 in the peritubular interstitium and along the TBM, and abundant IgG1-, IgG3- and IgG4-positive plasma cells in the interstitium. The patient responded well to moderate-dose steroid therapy. This is the first report of immunophenotyping of interstitial infiltrates in predominant tubulointerstitial lupus nephritis. The results suggest CD8-positive cytotoxic T cell-mediated tubular injury. Furthermore, immune complexes containing IgG4 might be one of etiologic factors.
- CD8-positive cytotoxic T cell
- Infiltrating cell
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Tubulointerstitial nephritis
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