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Lipoprotein glomerulopathy treated with LDL-apheresis (Heparin-induced Extracorporeal Lipoprotein Precipitation system): a case report

Gianpaolo Russi1*, Luciana Furci2, Marco Leonelli2, Riccardo Magistroni2, Nicola Romano1, Paolo Rivasi1 and Alberto Albertazzi2

Author Affiliations

1 Transfusion Medicine and Immunohaematology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera S Maria Nuova di Reggio Emilia, Viale Risorgimento 80 42100 Reggio Emilia, Italy

2 Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation Clinic, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Policlinico di Modena, Largo Del Pozzo 71 41100 Modena, Italy

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2009, 3:9311  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-3-9311

Published: 2 December 2009



Lipoprotein glomerulopathy is a glomerulonephritis which was described for the first time by Saito in 1989 and is currently acknowledged as a separate nosological entity. It is histologically characterized by a marked dilatation of the glomerular capillaries and the presence of lipoprotein thrombi in the glomerular lumens. The dyslipidemic profile is similar to that of type III dyslipoproteinemia with Apolipoprotein E values that are often high; proteinuria and renal dysfunction are present. Proteinuria often does not respond to steroid and cytostatic treatments.

The phenotypic expression of lipoprotein glomerulopathy is most probably correlated to a genetic alteration of the lipoprotein metabolism (mutation of the Apolipoprotein E coding gene). In literature, lipoprotein glomerulopathies have mainly been reported in Japanese and Chinese subjects, except for three cases in the Caucasian race, reported in France and the USA.

Case presentation

We describe the case of a 60-year-old female, Caucasian patient suffering from lipoprotein glomerulopathy, carrier of a new mutation on the Apolipoprotein E gene (Apolipoprotein EMODENA), and treated successfully with low density lipoprotein-apheresis with the Heparin induced extracorporeal lipoprotein precipitation system. After a first phase of therapeutic protocol with statins, the patient was admitted for nephrotic syndrome, renal failure and hypertension. Since conventional treatment alone was not able to control dyslipidemia, aphaeretic treatment with heparin-induced Extracorporeal Lipoprotein Precipitation - apheresis (HELP-apheresis) was started to maintain angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor therapy for the treatment of hypertension. Treatment with HELP-apheresis led to a complete remission of the proteinuria in a very short time (four months), as well as control of hypercholesterolemia and renal function recovery.


According to this case of lipoprotein glomerulopathy, we believe that renal damage expressed by proteinuria correlates to the levels of lipids and, furthermore, the treatment with HELP-apheresis, by lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, may be considered as a therapeutic option in synergy with pharmacological treatment in the treatment of lipoprotein glomerulopathy.