Anti-complement-factor H-associated glomerulopathies

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Abstract

| Atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS), an important cause of acute kidney injury, is characterized by dysregulation of the complement pathway, frequent need for dialysis, and progression to end-stage renal disease. Autoantibodies against complement factor H (FH), the main plasma regulatory protein of the alternative pathway of the complement system, account for a considerable proportion of children with aHUS. The autoantibodies are usually associated with the occurrence of a homozygous deletion in the genes encoding the FH-related proteins FHR1 and FHR3. High levels of autoantibodies, noted at the onset of disease and during relapses, induce functional deficiency of FH, whereas their decline, in response to plasma exchanges and/or immunosuppressive therapy, is associated with disease remission. Management with plasma exchange and immunosuppression is remarkably effective in inducing and maintaining remission in aHUS associated with FH autoantibodies, whereas terminal complement blockade with eculizumab is considered the most effective therapy in other forms of aHUS. Anti-FH autoantibodies are also detected in a small proportion of patients with C3 glomerulopathies, which are characterized by chronic glomerular injury mediated by activation of the alternative complement pathway and predominant C3 deposits on renal histology.

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