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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2012 Mar;23(3):381-99. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2011030304. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

Basic and translational concepts of immune-mediated glomerular diseases.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Genetically modified immune responses to infections and self-antigens initiate most forms of GN by generating pathogen- and danger-associated molecular patterns that stimulate Toll-like receptors and complement. These innate immune responses activate circulating monocytes and resident glomerular cells to release inflammatory mediators and initiate adaptive, antigen-specific immune responses that collectively damage glomerular structures. CD4 T cells are needed for B cell-driven antibody production that leads to immune complex formation in glomeruli, complement activation, and injury induced by both circulating inflammatory and resident glomerular effector cells. Th17 cells can also induce glomerular injury directly. In this review, information derived from studies in vitro, well characterized experimental models, and humans summarize and update likely pathogenic mechanisms involved in human diseases presenting as nephritis (postinfectious GN, IgA nephropathy, antiglomerular basement membrane and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-mediated crescentic GN, lupus nephritis, type I membranoproliferative GN), and nephrotic syndrome (minimal change/FSGS, membranous nephropathy, and C3 glomerulopathies). Advances in understanding the immunopathogenesis of each of these entities offer many opportunities for future therapeutic interventions.

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