Objective. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical characteristics and predictors of silent LN (SLN), a type of LN in SLE without abnormal urinalysis or renal impairment. Methods. Of 182 patients who underwent renal biopsy, 48 did not present with abnormal urinalysis or renal impairment at the time of biopsy. The patients with LN (SLN group, n = 36) and those without LN (non-LN group, n = 12) were compared with respect to their baseline characteristics. Bivariate analysis comprised Fisher's exact test and the Mann-Whitney test, whereas multivariate analysis employed binomial logistic regression analysis. Results. LN was histopathologically identified in 36 of 48 patients. According to the International Society of Nephrology/Renal Pathology Society classification, 72% of the SLN patients were classified as having class I/II, with a further 17% having class III/IV. Bivariate analyses indicated that platelet count, serum albumin, complement components (C3 and C4), complement haemolytic activity (CH50), anti-Sm antibody titre and anti-ribonucleoprotein antibody titre were significantly different between groups. Multivariate analysis indicated that CH50 and C3 titres were significantly lower in the SLN group, whereas anti-Sm antibody titre was significantly higher. The cut-offtitre, calculated based on the receiver operating characteristic curve for CH50, was 33 U/ml, with a sensitivity and specificity of 89% and 83%, respectively. The cut-offtitre for anti-Sm antibodies was 9 U/ml, with a sensitivity and specificity of 74% and 83%, respectively. Conclusion. Low titres of CH50 and C3 and a high titre of anti-Sm antibody were identified as predictors of SLN.
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