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What Are The Types of Lupus Nephritis?

Lupus nephritis or SLE nephritis refers to kidneys’ inflammation caused due to systemic lupus erythematosus. This is one of the autoimmune diseases and a specific type of glomerulonephritis, where inflammation of glomeruli takes place to prevent kidneys to perform their functions appropriately. Glomeruli refer to networks consisting of various tiny tubes responsible to transport blood, which doctors refer capillaries. These remain present at the start of nephrons in the kidneys.

What Are The Types of Lupus Nephritis?

What Are The Types of Lupus Nephritis?

According to nephrologists, lupus nephritis may present in six different classes, stages or types to represent varying levels of severities and demand varying options related to treatment.

Class 1 Type or Minimal Mesangial Glomerulonephritis

About 10 percent to 25 percent of people with systemic lupus erythematosus experience Class 1 type of lupus nephritis problem. Deposition of antigen and antibody complex i.e. immune complex in the form of specific modules causes Class 1 type of problem. These build up in the form of trace amounts within class 1 lupus nephritis and involve normal urinalysis.

Class 2 Type or Mesangial Proliferative Glomerulonephritis

Class 2 type of lupus nephritis prevails in about 20 percent of the patients with lupus. Doctors diagnose this type of problem if a patient has excessive messangial cells or messangial hypercellularity associated with the deposition of immune complex. In case of class 2 systemic lupus erythematosus, doctors recommend corticosteroids to their patients, as kidney failure takes place rarely.

Class 3 Type or Focal Glomerulonephritis

About 25 percent of the total lupus nephritis problem categorize under class 3 and refer to focal glomerulonephritis. Active lesions associated with the problem remain present in about half of the total glomerule and they take place in one or more than one focused locations.

An individual may exhibit blood in microscopic amounts in their urine referred as hematuria or excess amount of protein in the urine indicating proteinuria. Similar to class 2, class 3 lupus nephritis patients respond to corticosteroids, but high doses required in this case and kidney failure problem is rare.

Class 4 Type or Diffuse Proliferative Nephritis

Class 4 lupus nephritis is a highly severe subtype of lupus nephritis and it prevails about 40 percent of its total. About 50percent of the glomerule affects due to active lesions. Deposition of complex immune takes place beneath the endothelial when doctors view it by using an electron microscope. Patients experience both proteinuria and hematuria, along with hypertension, elevated creatinine and so on. Kidney failure often takes place in case of Class 4 patients and treatment involves the application of immune suppressant drugs and corticosteroids.

Class 5 Type or Membranous Glomerulonephirits

Class 5 type lupus nephritis involves about 10 percent of the total lupus nephritis and it causes extreme swelling in the feet and legs i.e. edema and proteinuria. In addition, patients may experience pulmonary embolism, thromboses and related thrombotic complications, while active lesions remain present. Class 5 however, involves uncommon kidney failure but treatment involves both immune suppressants and corticosteroids.

Class 6 Type or Advanced Sclerotic

Also known as global sclerosis, the problem leads to the involvement of about 90 percent total glomeruli and incorporates active lesions. Along with this, class 6 of lupus nephritis characterizes progressively worse type of kidney functions.


To conclude, we should say that the problem of lupus nephritis takes place in different stages or classes, while the diagnosis and treatment of each class depends primarily on the type of problem you experience.


  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesLupus Nephritis

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 25, 2023

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