Therapy of hepatitis C virus-associated glomerulonephritis: Current approaches

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The most frequent kidney disease associated with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is type I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) in patients with type II mixed cryoglobulinemia. The principal clinical manifestations of glomerular disease in HCV-infected patients are the presence of proteinuria and microscopic hematuria with or without impaired kidney function. Various approaches have been tried for the treatment of HCV-associated glomerulonephritis, including immunosuppressive therapy (corticosteroids and cytotoxic agents), plasma exchange and antiviral agents. Limited data exist regarding antiviral treatment of HCV-associated glomerulonephritis, whereas immunosuppressive agents have been suggested for cryoglobulinemic kidney disease. A recent meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials (CCTs) suggested that standard interferon (IFN) doses were more effective than immunosuppressive agents in lowering proteinuria of patients with HCV-related cryoglobulinemic glomerulonephritis (odds ratio 3.86; 95% confidence interval, 1.44-10.33; p=0.007). However, data for follow-up were not given. Two distinct approaches should be considered for the treatment of HCV-associated cryoglobulinemic glomerulonephritis according to the level of proteinuria and kidney failure. Preliminary studies with rituximab therapy of HCV-related cryoglobulinemic glomerulonephritis have given encouraging results, even if a point of caution is important, because rituximab use may be associated with activation of various infections, including HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-825
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nephrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interferon
  • Mixed cryoglobulinemia
  • Ribavirin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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