Light chain-associated acute tubulointerstitial nephritis (LC-ATIN) is a variant of light chain proximal tubulopathy (LCPT). It is characterized by interstitial inflammation with tubulitis and deposition of monoclonal light chains in the tubulointerstitium. LC-ATIN is a rather poorly recognized pattern of LCPT and not much is known about this entity.
To determine the clinicopathologic features of patients with LC-ATIN and investigate the proximal tubular injury and mechanism of interstitial inflammation in LC-ATIN.
A total of 38 cases of LC-ATIN were identified from the archives of 5043 renal biopsy specimens. In all cases, routine light microscopic examination, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopic examination were performed. In selected cases, immunofluorescent staining of dendritic cells and immunohistochemical staining for 4 tubular injury markers-KIM-1, p53, bcl-2, and Ki-67-were performed.
A characteristic finding in LC-ATIN cases was immunofluorescence staining of monoclonal light chains along tubular basement membranes in linear fashion and inside proximal tubular cells with a granular pattern. No monoclonal light chains were present in glomerular or vascular compartments confirmed with immunofluorescence, electron microscopy, and ultrastructural gold labeling. Ten of 15 LC-ATIN cases (67%) were concurrently positive for the 4 tubular injury markers. Dendritic cells were identified within the tubulointerstitium in the renal biopsy specimens, interacting with surrounding tubules with light-chain deposits and inflammatory cells.
Significant proximal tubular injury occurs associated with LC-ATIN, and the monoclonal light chains accumulated in proximal tubular cells contribute to the injury. Dendritic cells are involved in the pathogenesis of interstitial inflammation in LC-ATIN.