Recurrent nephrotic syndrome after living-related renal transplantation resistant to plasma exchange: report of two cases

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We encountered two patients of recurrent nephrotic syndrome (NS) after renal transplantation that was resistant to plasma exchange (PEX). Case 1 was a 34-year-old man with a living-related renal transplant for type-I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) related end-stage renal disease (ESRD). He developed overt proteinuria 7 months post-transplant and presented with NS 5 months later. Biopsy of the transplant kidney revealed recurrent type I MPGN, but no features of acute rejection (AR) or chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN). He was treated with cyclophosphamide (CP), oral prednisolone (40 mg/d), an anti-platelet agent, heparin sulfate, and PEX, but the nephrotic state persisted and renal function was deteriorated. He recommenced hemodialysis 3 yr and 9 months after renal transplant. Case 2 was a 47-year-old male who underwent living-related renal transplant for ESRD due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). He presented with proteinuria shortly after renal transplantation. He also had frequent episodes of AR. Graft biopsy revealed recurrent FSGS. Treatment of pulse methylprednisolone and PEX was transiently effective, but NS relapsed shortly after PEX. Graft biopsy at our hospital showed features of CAN with moderate interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy, presence of intraglomerular foam cells but no segmental sclerosis. Treatment with 12 courses of low-density lipoprotein apheresis (LDL-A) reduced proteinuria from 9.6 to 2.0 g/d, and incomplete remission has been maintained for more than 1 yr after LDL-A with slowly progressive renal dysfunction. Despite recent therapeutic advances, including the use of immunosuppressants and PEX, treatment of recurrent disease remains difficult. The LDL-A might be useful in cases with recurrent FSGS resistant to PEX.

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