Eosinophilia and risk of incident end stage kidney disease

Anam Tariq, Keisuke Okamato, Azka Tariq, Avi Z. Rosenberg, Karim M. Soliman, David W. Ploth, Mohamed G. Atta, Blaithin A. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Eosinophils in kidney disease are poorly understood and are often incidental findings on kidney biopsy. Eosinophilia in blood and renal biopsy tissue is associated with a host of immune and non-immune kidney diseases. The significance of eosinophilia in renal diseases has not been well addressed. We evaluated the presence of peripheral eosinophilia (> 4% of blood leukocytes) with biopsy tissue eosinophilia and their association with end-stage-kidney-disease (ESKD). Methods: A nested case-control (2:1) of patients who underwent kidney biopsies at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical University of South Carolina from 2004 to 2018 were included in the study. From the 616 eligible patients, 178 patients were identified through the registry of kidney biopsies as 18 years or older without missing biopsy reports or hematology results. Controls (n = 154) had no ESKD at the time of case (n = 24) designation and were assembled using incident density sampling and matched on age and sex. The association of peripheral eosinophilia (> 4% of peripheral blood leukocytes) with the risk of progression to ESKD was evaluated using conditional logistic model after adjusting for clinical demographics. Results: Among 178 patients, 65 (37%) had peripheral eosinophilia and 113 (63%) had no eosinophilia. Compared to patients without eosinophilia, patients with peripheral eosinophilia were notably male and had a higher serum creatinine at the time of their biopsy. Peripheral eosinophilia was associated with higher risk of ESKD (OR 15.9 [1.9, 134.7]) adjusted for patient demographics including hypertension, proteinuria and eGFR at the time of kidney biopsy. Peripheral eosinophilia had a significant linear association with kidney tissue eosinophils, 22 (standard deviation [SD] 20) per high power field (hpf) in 4-10% peripheral eosinophilia, 19 (SD 18) per hpf in ≥10% eosinophilia and 3 (SD 7) per hpf in no eosinophilia (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Peripheral eosinophilia is an independent predictor of tissue eosinophilia and subsequent progression to ESKD. Peripheral eosinophilia may be an early biomarker for underlying inflammation and disease, but further studies to investigate this clinical association are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalBMC nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2020


  • End-stage-kidney-disease
  • Eosinophilia
  • Inflammation
  • Interstitial nephritis
  • Kidney biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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