Fibrillary glomerulonephritis clinicopathologic features and atypical cases from a multi-institutional cohort

Nicole K. Andeen, Megan L. Troxell, Maziar Riazy, Rupali S. Avasare, Jessica Lapasia, J. Ashley Jefferson, Shreeram Akilesh, Behzad Najafian, Roberto F. Nicosia, Charles E. Alpers, Kelly D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Fibrillary GN has been defined as an immune complex-mediated GN with amyloid-like fibrils larger than amyloid which are IgG positive and Congo red negative. With discovery of DNAJB9 as a highly sensitive and specific marker for fibrillary GN, the specificity of the morphologic criteria for establishing the diagnosis of fibrillary GN has come into question. Design, setting, participants, & measurements We sought to (1) determine anatomic characteristics that best define fibrillary GN and (2) identify clinical and pathologic features that predict outcomes. Results We retrospectively reviewed kidney biopsies from patients diagnosed with fibrillary GN or suspected fibrillary GN between 1997 and 2017 (n=266, 65% female, median age 61). Approximately 11% of kidney biopsies had one or more unusual feature including monotypic deposits, Congo red positivity, or unusual fibril diameter. Fibrillary GN as a possible monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance represented,1% of cases. Immunostaining for DNAJB9 confirmed fibrillary GN in 100% of cases diagnosed as fibrillary GN and 79% of atypical cases diagnosed as possible fibrillary GN. At a median time of 24 months (interquartile range, 8–46 months) after biopsy (n=100), 53% of patients reached the combined primary outcome of ESKD or death, 18% had CKD, and 18% had partial remission. On multivariable analysis, male sex (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 3.82; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.97 to 7.37) and eGFR were the most significant predictors of primary outcome (aHR of 8.02 if eGFR,30 ml/min per 1.73 m2 [95% CI, 1.85 to 34.75]; aHR of 6.44 if eGFR 30 to,45 ml/min per 1.73 m2 [95% CI, 1.38 to 29.99]). Immunosuppressive therapy with rituximab was significantly associated with stabilization of disease progression. Conclusions Detection of DNAJB9 is a useful diagnostic tool for diagnosing atypical forms of fibrillary GN. The outcomes for fibrillary GN are poor and progression to ESKD is influenced predominantly by the degree of kidney insufficiency at the time of diagnosis and male sex. Rituximab may help preserve kidney function for select patients with fibrillary GN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1741-1750
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 6 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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