Antibodies to the phospholipase A2 receptor 1 (PLA2R1) have been reported in 70% of cases of idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN). The genetic susceptibility of IMN has been accounted for by HLA DQA1 and PLA2R1 genes. Here we retrospectively quantified PLA2R antibodies by ELISA, and genotyped DQ alleles and PLA2R1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms for association with clinical criteria for disease activity at the time of first sample and with outcome over a median total follow-up of 90 months. In 90 prevalent patients with biopsy-proven IMN, anti-PLA2R antibodies were present in 75% of patients with IMN with active disease and were significantly higher than in patients in partial or complete remission at the time of antibody measurement. There was a differential IgG subclass response (4>2>3>1) at an early stage, i.e., within 6 months of biopsy. Levels of PLA2R antibodies were significantly linked to DQA1*05:01 and DQB1*02:01. Survival analysis of patients with IMN showed that PLA2R antibodies are significantly linked with outcome. Thus, high levels of PLA2R antibodies are linked with active disease and a higher risk of declining renal function during follow-up. Future therapeutic trials in IMN should monitor anti-PLA2R, as patients with a high antibody burden may benefit from earlier therapeutic intervention. © 2013 International Society of Nephrology.
- DQ allele
- membranous nephropathy
- Manchester Institute of Biotechnology