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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2003 Jan;18(1):36-45.

Polymeric IgA increases the synthesis of macrophage migration inhibitory factor by human mesangial cells in IgA nephropathy.

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Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



It has been suggested that polymeric IgA (pIgA) or IgA immune complexes play a significant pathogenic role in IgA nephropathy (IgAN). Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) shares many activities with other pro-inflammatory cytokines. In human glomerulonephritis, including IgAN, glomerular expression of MIF is found to correlate with progressive renal injury. We hypothesized that deposition of pIgA within the kidney may lead to enhanced synthesis of MIF by mesangial cells.


In this study we examined the effect of pIgA and monomeric IgA (mIgA) from randomly selected patients with IgAN in clinical quiescence on the gene expression and protein synthesis of MIF in cultured human mesangial cells (HMC).


Both pIgA and mIgA from IgAN patients or matched healthy controls increased MIF gene expression and protein synthesis in a dose-dependent fashion. The magnitude of MIF protein induction by pIgA (100 microg/ml) was similar to that of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) at 10 pg/ml. In all subjects, the induction of MIF was higher for pIgA when compared with mIgA (P < 0.01). Furthermore, the up-regulation of MIF synthesis by either pIgA or mIgA was significantly higher in IgAN patients than in healthy controls (P < 0.05). Similarly, pIgA and mIgA were able to induce TNF-alpha gene expression and protein synthesis in mesangial cells. Incubation of mesangial cells with neutralizing antibody to TNF-alpha reduced the MIF synthesis induced by pIgA.


We demonstrate that pIgA is capable of inducing MIF and TNF-alpha production in HMC, which may play a major pathogenic role in IgAN. Induction of MIF can be partially blocked by neutralizing antibody to TNF-alpha, suggesting the possibility that up-regulation of MIF synthesis in HMC is mediated via an amplifying proinflammatory loop involving TNF-alpha.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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