IgA Nephropathy

Events leading to IgA Nephropathy. Courtesy ACP Medicine

Events leading to IgA Nephropathy. Click to enlarge. Courtesy ACP Medicine

What Is IgA Nephropathy?

IgA nephropathy, also called Berger’s disease, is a primary renal disease that results when immunoglobulin A (IgA) forms deposits in the glomeruli, where it creates inflammation.

IgA nephropathy is characterized by recurrent hematuria (blood in urine), mild proteinuria (protein in urine), and glomerular changes,1 but it is often a silent disease that may go undetected for many years.2

IgA is an antibody that helps the body fight infections.  As IgA builds up inside the small blood vessels of the kidney, glomeruli become inflamed and damaged.3

Q: What are glomeruli?

A: Glomeruli are the tiny units within the kidney where blood is cleaned. Blood enters the kidneys through arteries that branch inside the kidneys into tiny clusters of looping blood vessels. Each cluster is called a glomerulus, which comes from the Greek word meaning filter. The plural form of the word is glomeruli.

There are approximately 1 million glomeruli, or filters, in each kidney. The glomerulus is attached to the opening of a small fluid-collecting tube called a tubule. Blood is filtered in the glomerulus, and extra water and wastes pass into the tubule and become urine. Eventually, the urine drains from the kidneys into the bladder through larger tubes called ureters.4

IgA nephropathy can appear suddenly (acute glomerulonephritis) or get worse slowly over many years (chronic glomerulonephritis). Kidney disease impairs vitamin D activation in the body, resulting in bone loss.3

What Is IgA Nephropathy In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Ots M, Uibo O, Metskula K, Uibo R, Salupere V. IgA-antigliadin in patients with IgA nephropathy: the secondary phenomenon? American Journal of Nephrology. 1999; Vol. 19 (4), pp. 453-8. []
  2. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/glomerular/ []
  3. National Library of Medicine [] []
  4. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/glomerular/ []