Thrombotic microangiopathy: new insights

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Purpose of reviewIn the following study new aspects and insights into the epidemiology, pathogenesis and typical morphology of kidney involvement in thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) are discussed. TMA comprises a spectrum of microvascular thrombosis syndromes associated with multiple pathogenetic factors, that is, typical and atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), malignant hypertension, drugs or systemic autoimmune diseases or antibody-mediated rejection.Recent findingsThe present article will put particular emphasis on new pathophysiological insights into the development of TMA in the various settings. In addition, new options in the therapeutic management of TMA in atypical HUS are discussed. The pathogenesis of TMA in atypical HUS primarily involves hereditary or acquired deficiencies and disturbances of the complement system. Eculizumab is a promising new therapeutic option that has been discovered recently.SummaryIn HUS/TTP the kidney shows characteristic vascular changes due to endothelial damage, that is, TMA, which should be clinically and morphologically differentiated from other diseases. Recent genetic and molecular studies have shed more light on the pathogenesis of TMA in atypical HUS, that is, disturbances of various aspects of the complement system, and in TTP, that is, von Willebrand factor regulation by ADAMTS13, which are also helpful in the differential diagnosis.

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