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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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What causes glomerulonephritis?

A variety of conditions can cause glomerulonephritis (GN), ranging from infections that affect the kidneys to diseases that affect the whole body, including the kidneys. Sometimes the cause is unknown.[1]

Acute GN (a sudden attack of inflammation) may be caused by infections such as strep throat, impetigo, or bacterial endocarditis. Other infections that may cause GN include HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.[1][2] GN may also be caused by immune diseases such as lupus, Goodpasture's syndrome, and IgA nephropathy. Types of vasculitis that may cause the condition include Wegener's granulomatosis and polyarteritis nodosa.[1][2] Chronic GN sometimes develops after an episode acute glomerulonephritis.[1]

In some cases, GN is caused by an inherited condition. One of these is Alport syndrome (also known as hereditary nephritis).[1][2] Individuals with Alport syndrome may also have hearing and/or vision loss.[2] Alport syndrome can have different inheritance patterns depending on the disease-causing gene involved.

To view more information on our Web site about possible genetic causes and/or inheritance of GN, click here.
Last updated: 7/19/2012

  1. Glomerulonephritis. Mayo Clinic. April 2, 2011; Accessed 7/17/2012.
  2. Glomerulonephritis. National Kidney Foundation. 2012; Accessed 7/17/2012.