Recent studies suggest that complement plays a role in the pathogenesis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Moreover, co-localization of IgM and C3 deposits with FSGS lesions has frequently been reported. Here, we investigated whether glomerular complement deposition precedes the development of FSGS and whether it represents local complement activation. Renal biopsies from 40 patients with primary FSGS, 84 patients with minimal change disease, and 10 healthy individuals were stained for C4d, C1q, and mannose-binding lectin. C4d deposits were also measured in renal allograft biopsies from 34 patients with native primary FSGS, 18 of whom subsequently developed recurrent FSGS. Lastly, we measured C4d deposits in the Munich Wistar Frömter rat model of FSGS. The prevalence of C4d-positive glomeruli was significantly higher among patients with FSGS (73%) compared to patients with minimal change disease (21%) and healthy individuals (10%). Moreover, segmental sclerosis was absent in 42% of C4d-positive glomeruli. Glomerular C1q was significantly more prevalent in FSGS compared to minimal change disease or healthy individuals, while mannose-binding lectin was infrequently observed. C4d deposition was significantly more prevalent in recurrent FSGS (72%) before the development of sclerotic lesions compared to control transplant samples (27%). Finally, at the onset of albuminuria but before the development of FSGS lesions, Munich Wistar Frömter rats had a significantly higher percentage of C4d-positive glomeruli (31%) compared to control rats (4%). Thus, glomerular C4d deposition can precede the development of FSGS, suggesting that complement activation may play a pathogenic role in the development of FSGS.

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Keywords C4d, complement, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, glomerulus, minimal change disease, recurrent FSGS
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Journal Kidney International
van de Lest, N.A., Zandbergen, M., Wolterbeek, R, Kreutz, R, Trouw, L.A, Dorresteijn, E.M, … Chua, J.S. (2019). Glomerular C4d deposition can precede the development of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Kidney International, 96(3), 738–749. doi:10.1016/j.kint.2019.04.028