To determine indications for treatment with high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone pulse therapy in lupus nephritis, we retrospectively assessed the response to pulse therapy over oral prednisolone administration in 120 biopsy proven lupus nephritis patients according to WHO morphologic classification. In the pulse group, 1 g of methylprednisolone was administered on three consecutive days and oral steroid therapy (40-30 mg) was started. In many occasions in treating class IE and IV-b, repeated pulse therapy was performed. In control oral prednisolone group, middle-dose steroid therapy (50-30 mg) was started. In patients with minor glomerular abnormalities and mesangial lupus nephritis, rapid improvement of serological activities was observed in pulse group assessed by serum complement level, anti-DNA antibodies, and anti-nuclear antibodies. In patients with focal lupus nephritis, rapid rise in serum complement level and fall in proteinuria was observed in the pulse group. In patients with diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis with active necrotizing lesions, faster rise in serum complement level and proteinuria were observed in the pulse group. In patients with membranous lupus nephritis there was no significant difference between two groups. In comparison with the effect of pulse therapy among each morphologic class, the rise of serum complement level was slowest in class IV-b. Both group of IV-b and V manifested nephrotic syndrome and by pulse therapy the decrease in urinary protein was faster and more significant in class IV-b compared with class V. No significant adverse effect of methylprednisolone was observed during about 150 times of pulse therapy. Bacterial, viral infections such as herpes zoster and fungal infections were observed in pulse group as often as control group.
- WHO morphologic classification
- lupus nephritis
- pulse therapy
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