The Schnitzler syndrome (SS) is a rare and underdiagnosed entity that associates a chronic urticarial rash, monoclonal IgM (or sometimes IgG) gammopathy and signs and symptoms of systemic inflammation. During the past 45 years the SS has evolved from an elusive, little-known disorder to the paradigm of a late-onset auto-inflammatory acquired syndrome. Though there is no definite proof of its precise pathogenesis, it should be considered as an acquired disease involving abnormal stimulation of the innate immune system, which can be reversed by the interleukin 1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist anakinra. Here we describe the case of a 56-year-old male Caucasian patient affected by SS and hospitalized several times in our unit because of relapsing episodes of acute kidney injury. He underwent an ultrasound-guided percutaneous kidney biopsy in September 2012, which showed the histologic picture of type I membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. He has undergone conventional therapies, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and immunosuppressive drugs; more recently, the IL-1 receptor antagonist anakinra has been prescribed, with striking clinical improvement. Although the literature regarding kidney involvement in the SS is lacking, it can however be so severe, as in the case reported here, to lead us to recommend the systematic search of nephropathy markers in the SS.
Keywords: Acute kidney injury, auto-inflammatory diseases, chronic urticarial rash, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, monoclonal IgM gammopathy, Schnitzler syndrome