Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis (GN)  - Introduction

Glomerulonephritis is a difficult word and for us as nephrologists, these are very challenging diseases. There are many types, and the most common ones will be discussed below. What all Glomerluonephritis (often abbreviated as GN) have in common, is that it is basically a disease of our immunesystem. We have this system to defend us from intruders that make us sick, like bacteria and viruses. But for whatever reason, this immunesystem can also get activated against our own body cells.We call this an auto-immune disease. There are mny auto-immune diseases from other organ systems, like the thyroid, the skin, the heart, the pancreas (diabetes type 1) and the liver. When it hits the kidneys, we call it a GN.

In its simplest form, we can imagine it as follows: on the surface of our kidney cells we have so-called receptors. they are small antenna that have complex functions. If the bacteria or viruses that enter our blood have antenna on their surface that look similar to those on kidney cells, we have a problem. Our immune system will make antibodies to kill the viruses and does that by making small key-like proteins, that fit like a key in the keyhole of the receptor and the virus is destroyed. Once the infection is overcome, there are no more viruses to kill, but the keys of our immunesystem still swim around. If we have the bad luck that the receptors on the kidney cells look like the virus receptors, our immune system will attack the kidney cells and we present with a full GN that needs urgent attention.

Post Infectious GN

 

IgA GN

 

Membranous GN

 

Membranoproliferative GN


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