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Clinicopathologic features of non-lupus membranous nephropathy in a pediatric population.



Membranous nephropathy is an uncommon cause of nephrotic syndrome in pediatrics.


We reviewed our kidney biopsy records for patients ≤ 20 years of age with membranous nephropathy without evidence of systemic lupus erythematosus within 6 months of biopsy (January 1995-September 2020). Staining for PLA2R, NELL1, THSD7A, SEMA3B, EXT2 (3 biopsies), and IgG-subclass were performed.


Sixteen children (≤ 12 years) and 25 adolescents (13-20 years) were identified. Four children and 15 adolescents showed autoantigen positivity: PLA2R+/SEMA3B- (13), SEMA3B+/PLA2R+ (2), SEMA3B+/PLA2R- (1), NELL1 (1), EXT2+ (2), and THSD7A (0). Co-morbidities associated with PLA2R positivity included IPEX syndrome, active hepatitis B, Von Hippel Lindau syndrome, solitary kidney, type 1 diabetes, hyperuricemia, pregnancy (1), obesity (3), type II diabetes, H. pylori, viral prodrome, and nephrolithiasis. The SEMA3B+/PLA2R- adolescent was pregnant, the NELL1+ adolescent was obese, and the two EXT2+ adolescents eventually met the clinical criteria for lupus (4, 9 years post-biopsy). Co-morbidities among the remaining 24 patients included remote hepatitis B (2), Down's syndrome, lysinuric protein intolerance, recurrent UTIs, hypothyroidism, pregnancy (3), and obesity (2). Follow-up data was available for 12 children and 16 adolescents. Of the 12 children, 6 achieved complete remission, 4 achieved partial remission, and 2 had no response to treatment (1 transplant). Of the 16 adolescents, 4 achieved complete remission, 4 achieved partial remission, and 8 had no response to treatment (3 transplants). A child with "full-house" immunofluorescence staining achieved spontaneous disease remission.


Our non-lupus membranous nephropathy cohort represents one of the largest pediatric studies to date. A higher resolution version of the Graphical abstract is available as Supplementary information.

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