The histopathology and incidence of AIDS-related glomerulopathy was evaluated by renal biopsy (N = 24) or at autopsy in 159 patients, including 131 adults and 28 infants and children with AIDS. Thirty-five patients had overt clinical manifestations of renal disease characterized by a nephrotic syndrome with focal and segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSS). Fifteen patients had diffuse glomerular mesangial hyperplasia (MH) without or with minimal clinical renal disease and 109 had intact or minimally involved glomeruli. Whereas 15 of 30 (50%) i.v. drug users with AIDS had evidence of renal disease, only one of 53 (2%) homosexuals had clinical renal disease and only 6 (11%) had histologic evidence of glomerular pathology. The study confirms the important risk of i.v. drug use as a pathogenic factor of renal disease and shows a rarity of renal disease in homosexual or bisexual men with AIDS. On the other hand, 30% of adult Haitians with AIDS had FSS or diffuse MH, although i.v. drug use is not an important risk factor in this population. Moreover, eight of 28 (29%) children with perinatal AIDS had evidence of renal involvement, including four with a nephrotic syndrome and FSS. The data provide strong evidence for the existence of an AIDS-related glomerulopathy independent of i.v. drug use, but suggest that unrecognized co-factors may be important in the development of renal disease.
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