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J Clin Immunol. 2001 Sep;21(5):310-27.

Progress in molecular and genetic studies of IgA nephropathy.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


Several new findings emerged recently from biochemical, genetic, and molecular studies of patients with IgA nephropathy. It appears that immunoglobulin A1-secreting cells of IgA nephropathy patients produce increased amounts of aberrantly glycosylated IgA1 in which the O-linked glycans in the hinge region are deficient in the content of galactose. The galactose-deficient IgA1 in the circulation is recognized by naturally occurring antibodies with anti-glycan specificity, and immune complexes are formed. These circulating immune complexes escape hepatic degradation and eventually are deposited in the kidney mesangium. Resident mesangial cells bind the IgA-containing immune complexes with the involvement of a novel IgA receptor and become activated. A familial form of IgA nephropathy has been linked to chromosome 6q22-23. Recent progress in molecular analyses of IgA nephropathy thus defines this disease as an autoimmune process with a novel IgA mesangial receptor and certain genetically determined traits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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