A case report of IgG4-related disease: an insidious path to the diagnosis through kidney, heart and brain

Giorgia Comai, Vania Cuna, Benedetta Fabbrizio, Elena Sabattini, Ornella Leone, Francesco Tondolo, Andrea Angeletti, Maria Cappuccilli, Rocco Liguori, Gaetano La Manna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: IgG4-related disease, described around the years 2000 as a form of autoimmune pancreatitis, is now increasingly accepted as a systemic syndrome. The diagnosis is based on both comprehensive and organ-specific criteria. For the kidney, Mayo clinic classification and the guidelines of the Japanese Nephrology Society are used. Ultimately, together with parameters that characterize every organ or apparatus involved, the key element is the confirmation of growing levels of IgG4 in blood or in tissues.

CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a male patient with chronic renal failure associated to hypertension without proteinuria. IgG4-related disease was diagnosed through renal biopsy. After an initial positive response to steroids, he presented tinnitus, and histological assessment showed cerebral and subsequently cardiac damage, both IgG4-related. This case appears unique for the type of histologically documented cardiac and neurological parenchymal involvement, and at the same time, exemplifies the subtle and pernicious course of the disease. Frequently, blurred and non-specific signs prevail. Here, kidney damage was associated with minimal urinary findings, slowly progressive renal dysfunction and other factors that can be equivocated in the differential diagnosis. Neurological involvement was represented by tinnitus alone, while cardiac alterations were completely asymptomatic.

CONCLUSIONS: This report is representative of the neurological and cardiac changes described in the literature for IgG4-related disease, which may be correlated or not with the renal form and highlights the need, in some cases, of targeted therapeutic approaches. In addition to glucocorticoids, as in this case, rituximab may be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2019


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