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Clin Nephrol. 1993 Sep;40(3):131-6.

Deficiency of IgG subclass antibody response to tetanus toxoid associated with high serum IgA levels in IgA nephropathy.

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Department of Nephrology, Leicester General Hospital, UK.


In order to investigate IgG subclass response in IgA nephropathy (IgAN), 20 patients and 20 age and sex matched controls were systemically immunized with tetanus toxoid (TT). Nineteen/20 controls and 19/20 IgAN made a serum IgG anti-TT response of similar magnitude. However, significantly more patients with IgAN had undetectable amounts of at least one IgG subclass antibody to this antigen than controls (7/19 IgAN, 1/19 controls, p < 0.05). All individuals with an IgG subclass anti-TT deficiency lacked IgG1 and/or IgG4. Two patients made no IgG3 anti-TT (as well as no IgG1 and IgG4 anti-TT) but all individuals who responded to TT made IgG2 anti-TT. Total IgG subclass levels in IgAN did not differ from controls and no patient with IgAN had a total IgG subclass deficiency. Total serum IgA was significantly raised in IgAN (p < 0.002) and 6/7 IgAN with an IgG anti-TT subclass deficiency had a serum IgA level of over 3.2 milligrams compared to only 2/12 IgAN with no IgG subclass anti-TT deficiency (p < 0.01). The association of high serum IgA levels with IgG subclass deficiency to TT may be due to an abnormality in switching from IgG to IgA production in IgAN, or a manifestation of a defect of immunoregulation analogous to that proposed in IgA deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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