Steroid pulse therapy transiently destroys the discriminative histological structure of tonsils in IgA nephropathy: Tonsillectomy should be performed before or just after steroid pulse therapy

Mika Adachi, Mitsuhiro Sato, Mariko Miyazaki, Osamu Hotta, Koji Hozawa, Toshinobu Sato, Yoshio Taguma, Yukio Katori
Auris, Nasus, Larynx 2018, 45 (6): 1206-1213

OBJECTIVE: Tonsillectomy combined with steroid-pulse therapy is a widely accepted method for the treatment of IgA nephropathy (IgAN) in Japan. However, the indication of tonsillectomy for IgAN is still controversial, and the timing of tonsillectomy is not clearly defined for the protocol of this therapy. Based on the results of a randomized control trial in Japan, the Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for IgA nephropathy 2014 (edited in Japan) recommended tonsillectomy combined with steroid-pulse therapy for Grade C1. However, this is not widely accepted worldwide. To clarify the validity and timing of tonsillectomy, we evaluated how the three-consecutive steroid-pulse therapy method affects the tonsil tissues of IgAN patients.

METHODS: We examined tonsil specimens from 35 IgAN patients and 8 chronic tonsillitis patients. We compared the proportion of follicular area to total tonsillar area and the number of germinal centers between each group on hematoxylin and eosin stained pathological specimens to clarify the histopathological characteristics of tonsils from IgAN patients. Based on these findings, we examined the tonsils of patients after three-consecutive steroid-pulse therapy treatments (n=34) to determine the influence of this therapy on the tonsil tissues of IgAN patients. Moreover, we observed chronological changes in tonsil tissues after steroid-pulse therapy.

RESULTS: The extrafollicular area was enlarged in IgAN patients before steroid-pulse therapy compared with chronic tonsillitis patients. Just after steroid-pulse therapy, the follicles became very small with blurry outlines, and the number of germinal centers was remarkably decreased. With a gradual decrease in oral prednisolone, the tonsil tissue structure was gradually restored.

CONCLUSION: Tonsillectomy combined with steroid-pulse therapy is considered a reasonable treatment for IgAN. Steroid-pulse therapy-induced histological changes in tonsils were transient, indicating tonsillectomy should be performed before or just after steroid-pulse therapy.

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