We report a case of a patient with acute renal failure in Lyme disease-associated focal proliferative mesangial nephropathy. Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by the bite of an infected ixodes tick. Post-infectious glomerulonephritis (GN) secondary to Borrelia burgdorferi infection in man could be fatal, as it is in canine Lyme borreliosis.
A 61-year old man with chronic ethanolic hepatitis was admitted to a provincial hospital, complaining of nausea, diarrhoea and loss of his sense of taste. A few days prior hospitalization, he had been bitten by a tick. He developed erythema gyratum repens in the right leg, thorax and face. Kidney function was altered despite normal urine flow: creatinine 5.04 mg/dl and BUN 126 mg/dl. Urinalysis showed light proteinuria and microscopic hematuria. IgG and IgM antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi were detected by ELISA and Western blot confirmed the diagnosis. Renal biopsy showed mild mesangial proliferation and mesangial and paramesangial deposits on AFOG stain. A diagnosis of acute renal failure in Lyme disease-associated focal proliferative IgA nephropathy was made. Intravenous antibiotic medication was started (ceftriaxone 1 gram daily i.v.). The patient was later discharged, serum creatinine had decreased to 3.5 mg/dl with a BUN of 58 mg/dl, and a slight improvement was observed on follow-up.
Borrelia burgdorferi is a possible cause of post-infectious GN in humans as it is in dogs. Difficulties in identifying Borrelia burgdorferi may also be one of the reasons for the paucity of reports on the association of this infection with glomerulonephritis in humans. Currently, various types of histological renal lesions have been reported.