Thrombotic microangiopathy versus class IV lupus nephritis in systemic lupus erythematosus

Momin H. Alkhatib, Sam Kant, Steven Menez, Laila Lakhani, Christopher John Sperati, Derek M. Fine, Lois J Arend, Mohamed G. Atta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Kidney involvement is common in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study investigates the clinical and prognostic characteristics of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) compared to class IV lupus nephritis in SLE patients. Methods: A retrospective review of patients who underwent kidney biopsy, with a primary diagnosis of SLE and TMA between June 2006 and September 2018 was conducted. Those patients were subsequently compared to patients with class IV lupus nephritis between January 2018 and December 2018. Demographics, laboratory, and serological data at the time of biopsy were abstracted. Results: Among 214 SLE patients records screened, 27 were included in the final analysis. Eight patients had lupus-related TMA without evidence of active lupus nephritis, while 19 patients had class IV lupus nephritis without evidence of TMA. TMA patients had significantly higher lactate dehydrogenase levels (718 ± 499 vs. 264 ± 107.7 U/L, p = 0.009), serum C3 (100.6 ± 39.3 vs. 65.8 ± 27 mg/dL, p = 0.049), white blood cell count (14743.8 ± 7933.3 vs. 5807.9 ± 2053.2 × 10E3/uL, p < 0.001), and total bilirubin (0.8 ± 0.5 vs. 0.3 ± 0.1 mg/dL, p = 0.007) in addition to significantly lower platelet counts (158.4 ± 88.6 vs. 240.3 ± 100.3 × 10E3/uL, p = 0.03), and haptoglobin (68.8 ± 116.1 vs. 166.8 ± 95.4 mg/dL, p = 0.03). After a median follow-up time of 53 weeks, 3 patients with TMA were dialysis-dependent (37.5%), compared with none in class IV lupus nephritis patients (p = 0.002). Conclusions: TMA-associated SLE has worse prognosis compared to class IV lupus nephritis. An array of laboratory and pathological findings may be of value in discriminating between those two entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nephrology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Lupus nephritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Thrombotic microangiopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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