Plasmapheresis in immunologic renal disease.
Plasmapheresis has been used in the management of immunologic renal disease for the last 40 years. The rationale behind this approach is to remove pathogenic immune mediators, such as autoantibodies and immune complexes, from the circulation. There may also be benefit in depleting proinflammatory molecules, such as complement components and coagulation factors. Initial experience was gained in Goodpasture's disease, in which antiglomerular basement membrane antibodies were known to be pathogenic. More recently, a role for autoantibodies has become clear in small-vessel systemic vasculitis and some cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome/thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Removal of immune complexes is thought to be important in cryoglobulinemia and systemic lupus erythematosus. Plasmapheresis is used in renal transplantation for the treatment of acute antibody-mediated rejection, and for desensitization of patients with preformed anti-HLA antibodies or those receiving an ABO-incompatible transplant. Although many of the early studies were uncontrolled, there has been an increasing number of randomized controlled trials in recent years. The aim of this article is to summarize current indications for the use of plasmapheresis in immunologic renal disease. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.