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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 2180508, 7 pages
Review Article

Rituximab for Treatment of Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis and C3 Glomerulopathies

Department of Internal Medicine IV–Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Correspondence should be addressed to Michael Rudnicki;

Received 3 March 2017; Accepted 20 April 2017; Published 9 May 2017

Academic Editor: Björn Meijers

Copyright © 2017 Michael Rudnicki. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) is a histological pattern of injury resulting from predominantly subendothelial and mesangial deposition of immunoglobulins or complement factors with subsequent inflammation and proliferation particularly of the glomerular basement membrane. Recent classification of MPGN is based on pathogenesis dividing MPGN into immunoglobulin-associated MPGN and complement-mediated C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN) and dense deposit disease (DDD). Current guidelines suggest treatment with steroids, cytotoxic agents with or without plasmapheresis only for subjects with progressive disease, that is, nephrotic range proteinuria and decline of renal function. Rituximab, a chimeric B-cell depleting anti-CD20 antibody, has emerged in the last decade as a treatment option for patients with primary glomerular diseases such as minimal change disease, focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis, or idiopathic membranous nephropathy. However, data on the use of rituximab in MPGN, C3GN, and DDD are limited to case reports and retrospective case series. Patients with immunoglobulin-associated and idiopathic MPGN who were treated with rituximab showed partial and complete responses in the majorities of cases. However, rituximab was not effective in few cases of C3GN and DDD. Despite promising results in immunoglobulin-associated and idiopathic MPGN, current evidence on this treatment remains weak, and controlled and prospective data are urgently needed.