Prospective assessment of renal histopathological lesions in patients with end-stage liver disease: effects on long-term renal function after liver transplantation.
ABSTRACT The incidence of organic renal lesions in patients with end-stage liver disease is unknown. The goal of this study was to make a prospective evaluation of renal histological lesions in a group of unselected patients awaiting liver transplantation.
Sixty cirrhotic patients underwent a renal biopsy via the transjugular route. The potential effect of renal lesions on renal function was evaluated five years after transplantation.
The yield of biopsies enabling satisfactory analysis was 77%, and no major complications occurred. Proteinuria>0.5 g/day was observed in only 8.7% of these patients, microscopic haematuria in 4.3%, creatinine levels>133 mmol/L (1.5mg/dl) in 10.9%, and Modification of the Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) clearance<60 ml/min in 13.0%. Twenty-five patients (55.3%) had a morphological diagnosis of renal disease, 15 displayed IgA nephropathy and immunofluorescence testing showed that 12 had specific diabetic linear staining for IgG and albumin, of whom seven had associated histological lesions of diabetic nephropathy. Five years after liver transplantation, renal function had significantly deteriorated more in patients with initial diabetic lesions than in those with normal histology or IgA nephropathy alone.
In patients with end-stage liver disease, IgA nephropathy and diabetic lesions were frequently found despite the absence of renal impairment and/or urinalysis anomalies. Our results strongly suggest that severe renal failure develops preferentially in liver transplant recipients with diabetes or carbohydrate intolerance, and that pre-existing arterial lesions may favour the nephrotoxicity of calcineurin inhibitors. Diabetes prior to transplantation needs to be strictly managed and requires a renal sparing immunosuppressive regimen after transplantation.