Complement gene variants determine the risk of immunoglobulin-associated MPGN and C3 glomerulopathy and predict long-term renal outcome

Paraskevas Iatropoulos, Marina Noris, Caterina Mele, Rossella Piras, Elisabetta Valoti, Elena Bresin, Manuela Curreri, Elena Mondo, Anna Zito, Sara Gamba, Serena Bettoni, Luisa Murer, Véronique Frémeaux-Bacchi, Marina Vivarelli, Francesco Emma, Erica Daina, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is an uncommon cause of chronic nephropathy recently reclassified into immunoglobulin-associated MPGN (Ig-MPGN) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). In this study we aimed: (1) to evaluate the complement genetic and biochemical profile in patients with Ig-MPGN/C3G; (2) to investigate whether genetic variants and different patterns of complement activation (i.e., fluid versus solid phase) correlate with disease manifestations and outcomes. Methods: In 140 patients with idiopathic Ig-MPGN or C3G we performed complement biochemical and genetic screening and correlated genetic, biochemical and histology data with clinical features. Results: Mutations in genes encoding alternative pathway complement proteins were found in both Ig-MPGN and C3G, and mutations in the two components of the C3 convertase are the most prevalent. We also report a mutation in THBD encoding thrombomodulin in a C3G patient. The presence of mutations alone does not significantly increase the risk of Ig-MPGN or C3G, but it does so when combined with common susceptibility variants (CD46 c.-366A in Ig-MPGN; CFH V62 and THBD A473 in C3G). Finally, patients without complement gene mutations or C3NeFs - autoantibodies that stabilize the alternative pathway C3 convertase - have a higher risk of progressing to end-stage renal disease than patients with identified mutations and/or C3NeFs, suggesting the existence of different pathogenetic mechanisms that lead to renal disease. Conclusions: We provide new insights into the pathogenesis of Ig-MPGN/C3G that underscore the complex nature of these diseases and suggest that the current C3G classification may miss many cases associated with abnormalities of the complement alternative pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-142
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • C3 glomerulonephritis
  • C3 glomerulopathy
  • Dense-Deposit Disease
  • Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis
  • Rare diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology


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