A 22-year-old woman hospitalized for polyarthralgia was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). She was treated with prednisolone, and her clinical manifestations improved. However, she was re-admitted for renal biopsy because of persistent hypocomplementemia and development of proteinuria. The biopsy revealed segmental spike formation of basement membrane and subepithelial immune complex deposition, and membranous lupus nephritis (class V) was diagnosed. When tacrolimus was added to prednisolone, the serum complement titer quickly improved and proteinuria disappeared after about 11 months. Nevertheless, when tacrolimus was replaced examination showed cyclosporine due to gastrointestinal symptoms, she complained about arthralgia. Examination showed drop in the serum complement titer and recurrence of proteinuria. Renal biopsy at the time of recurrence showed increased subepithelial immune complex deposition in the capillary loops as compared to the first biopsy, a high degree of thickening of the basement membrane, and segmental circumferential interposition in some of the glomeruli. Membranous lupus nephritis (classes V + III) was diagnosed. By changing to tacrolimus and higher doses of steroids, the serum complement titer improved and proteinuria disappeared. This case indicates that tacrolimus can be an effective therapeutic agent for membranous lupus nephritis.
- Membranous lupus nephritis (MLN)
ASJC Scopus subject areas