Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis

Definition

Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis is a kidney disorder that involves inflammation and changes to kidney cells. It may lead to kidney failure.

Alternative Names

Membranoproliferative GN I; Membranoproliferative GN II; Mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis; Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis; Lobular GN; Glomerulonephritis - membranoproliferative; MPGN type I; MPGN type II

Causes

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli. The glomeruli of the kidney help filter wastes and fluids from the blood to form urine.

Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is a form of glomerulonephritis caused by an abnormal immune response. Deposits of antibodies build up in a part of the kidneys called the glomerular basement membrane. This membrane helps filter wastes and extra fluids from the blood.

Damage to this membrane affects the kidney's ability to create urine normally. It may allow blood and protein to leak into the urine. If enough protein leaks into the urine, fluid may leak out of the blood vessels into body tissues, leading to swelling (edema). Nitrogen waste products may also build up in the blood (azotemia).

The 2 forms of this disease are MPGN I and MPGN II.

Most people with the disease have type I. MPGN II is much less common. It also tends to get worse faster than MPGN I.

Causes of MPGN may include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include any of the following:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. The provider may find that you have signs of too much fluid in the body, such as:

  • Swelling, often in the legs
  • Abnormal sounds when listening to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope
  • You may have high blood pressure

The following tests help confirm the diagnosis:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the symptoms. The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms, prevent complications, and slow the progression of the disorder.

You may need a change in diet. This may include limiting salt, fluids, or protein to help control high blood pressure, swelling, and the buildup of waste products in the blood.

Medicines that may be prescribed include:

  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Dipyridamole, with or without aspirin
  • Diuretics
  • Medicines to suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide
  • Steroids

Treatment is more effective in children than in adults. Dialysis or kidney transplant may eventually be needed to manage kidney failure.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The disorder often slowly gets worse and eventually results in chronic kidney failure.

Half of people with this condition develop chronic kidney failure within 10 years. This is more likely in those who have higher levels of protein in their urine.

Possible Complications

Complications that may result from this disease include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your provider if:

  • You have symptoms of this condition
  • Your symptoms get worse or do not go away
  • You develop new symptoms, including decreased urine output

Prevention

Preventing infections such as hepatitis or managing diseases such as lupus may help prevent MPGN.

References

Schena FP, Alpers CE. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis and cryoglobulinemic glomerulonephritis. In: Johnson RJ, Feehally J, Floege J, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 21.

Review Date:9/22/2015
Reviewed By:Charles Silberberg, DO, private practice specializing in nephrology, affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No