We describe an unusual case of membranous nephropathy precipitated by syphilis infection in a patient without systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A previously healthy 20-year-old man presented with leg and facial swelling. Laboratory investigation revealed nephrotic range proteinuria, acute kidney injury, hypocomplementaemia and a highly positive rapid plasma reagin. Kidney biopsy showed membranous nephropathy with ‘full-house’ immunofluorescence (IgG, IgA, IgM, C1q and C3), mimicking lupus nephritis class Vb. However, the patient had no features of SLE and had negative antinuclear and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. He was treated with high-dose methylprednisolone and mycophenolate mofetil for lupus nephritis and with penicillin for syphilis. After 2 months of therapy, his proteinuria resolved, and his renal function and C4 level normalised. This case illustrates that syphilis infection can be a mimicker of lupus nephritis. A literature review suggests that ful-house nephropathy may occur independently of lupus nephritis and may or may not develop into SLE.
- acute renal failure
- nephrotic syndrome
- systemic lupus erythematosus
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.