Fetal microchimerism in kidney biopsies of lupus nephritis patients may be associated with a beneficial effect

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Introduction: Microchimeric male fetal cells (MFCs) have been associated with systemic lupus erythematosus, and published studies have further correlated MFC with lupus nephritis (LN). In the present study, we evaluated the frequency of MFC in the renal tissue of patients with LN. Methods: Twenty-seven renal biopsies were evaluated: Fourteen were from women with clinical and laboratory findings of LN, and thirteen were from controls. Genomic DNA was extracted from kidney biopsies, and the male fetal DNA was quantified using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reactions for the detection of specific Y chromosome sequences. Results: MFCs were detected in 9 (64%) of 14 of patients with LN, whereas no MFCs were found in the control group (P = 0.0006). No differences in pregnancy history were found between patients with LN and the control group. Significantly higher amounts of MFCs were found in patients with LN with serum creatinine ≤1.5 mg/dl. Furthermore, women with MFCs had significantly better renal function at the time of biopsy (P = 0.03). In contrast, patients with LN without MFCs presented with more severe forms of glomerulonephritis (World Health Organization class IV = 60% and class V = 40%). Conclusions: Our data indicate a high prevalence of MFCs in renal biopsy specimens from women with LN, suggesting a role for MFCs in the etiology of LN. The present report also provides some evidence that MFCs could have a beneficial effect in this disease.




Florim, G. M. S., Caldas, H. C., de Melo, J. C. R., Baptista, M. A., Fernandes, I. M. M., Savoldi-Barbosa, M., … Abbud-Filho, M. (2015). Fetal microchimerism in kidney biopsies of lupus nephritis patients may be associated with a beneficial effect. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-015-0615-4

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