Recent advances in our understanding of recurrent primary glomerulonephritis after kidney transplantation

Fernando G. Cosio, Daniel C. Cattran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Recurrent glomerulonephritis (GN) is an important cause of kidney allograft failure, particularly in younger recipients. Approximately 15% of death-censored graft failures are due to recurrent GN, but this incidence is likely an underestimation of the magnitude of the problem. Overall, 18% to 22% of kidney allografts are lost due to GN, either recurrent or presumed de novo. The impact of recurrent GN on allograft survival was recognized from the earliest times in kidney transplantation. However, progress in this area has been slow, and our understanding of GN recurrence remains limited, in large part due to incomplete understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases. This review focuses on recent advances in our general understanding of the pathophysiology of primary GN, the risk of recurrence in the allograft, and the consequences for kidney graft survival. We focus specifically on the most common forms of primary GN, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous nephropathy, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, and IgA nephropathy. New understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases has had direct clinical implications for transplantation, allowing better identification of candidates at high risk of recurrence and earlier diagnoses, and it is expected to lead to significance improvements in the therapy and perhaps even prevention of GN recurrence. More than ever, it is essential to fully characterize GN before transplantation as this information will direct our management posttransplantation. Further, the relative rarity of recurrent GN dictates the need for multicenter studies in order to evaluate, test, and validate recent advances and therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
JournalKidney international
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • IgA nephropathy
  • focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • glomerulonephritis
  • membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
  • membranous nephropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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