In a majority of cases of membranous nephropathy, evidence of autoimmune activity can be found. Your body's immune system mistakes some of your own tissues as foreign and attacks them with autoantibodies. These autoantibodies can damage your kidney's filtering systems (glomeruli).

Sometimes membranous nephropathy is brought on by other causes, notably:

  • Autoimmune disease, such as lupus erythematosus
  • Infection with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis
  • Certain medications, such as gold salts and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Solid cancerous tumors or blood cancers

Membranous nephropathy may also occur along with other kidney diseases, such as diabetic nephropathy and rapidly progressive (crescentic) glomerulonephritis.

Oct. 21, 2014