Multiple myeloma (MM) is a relatively common hematologic malignancy, and up to half of patients with MM present with renal dysfunction at the time of diagnosis. MM-associated renal injury has been linked to an excess level of monoclonal immunoglobulin free light chains (FLCs) in the circulation; however, it is not clear how these FLCs drive renal pathology. In this issue of the JCI, Ying et al. unravel a novel mechanism by which FLCs mediate renal injury in MM by inducing fibrotic and inflammatory pathways in the kidney. Specifically, FLC-mediated production of H2O2 was shown to activate JAK2/STAT1 signaling, increase production of IL-1β via induction of capsase-1, and promote activation of TGF-β via αvβ6 integrin. Moreover, the authors identified a tryptophan residue within a specific monoclonal FLC that was required for optimal H2O2 production and downstream signaling. A better understanding of the drivers of MM-associated renal injury has potential for the identification of promising therapeutic targets.
Erin B. Taylor, Michael J. Ryan