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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1997 Mar;8(3):376-85.

Comparison of anti-GBM antibodies in sera with or without ANCA.

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Department of Nephrology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


An appreciable percentage of patients with serum anti-glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibodies also have antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), against either myeloperoxidase (MPO-ANCA), or proteinase 3 (PR3-ANCA). In sera without ANCA, the anti-GBM antibodies have been shown to react mainly with the noncollagenous domain (NC1) of Type IV collagen, and especially with its alpha 3 chain, alpha 3(IV)NC1. In most sera, the antibodies can be partially blocked by a monoclonal antibody (Mab17) against alpha 3(IV)NC1, suggesting that a limited region is recognized. Although there is evidence that some anti-GBM antibodies that coexist with ANCA react with alpha 3(IV)NC1, extensive analysis of the specificity of such anti-GBM antibodies has not been reported. In the study presented here, sera were analyzed from 332 patients tested both for anti-GBM antibodies and ANCA (MPO or PR3-ANCA) and found to have one or more positive tests. Of the 100 sera with anti-GBM antibodies, 38 also had ANCA-25 with MPO-ANCA (66%), 12 with PR3-ANCA (32%), and one with both (2%). Of the 232 sera with ANCA only, 153 had MPO-ANCA (66%), 75 had PR3-ANCA (32%), and four had both (2%). Sera was also analyzed from 259 other patients who had positive ANCA tests and were not tested for anti-GBM antibodies: 138 had MPO-ANCA (54%), and 121 had PR3-ANCA (46%). The relative frequencies of MPO or PR3-ANCA in patients with coexisting anti-GBM antibodies did not differ significantly from those in all patients with ANCA (P = 0.35). Seventeen sera with anti-GBM antibodies only and 16 sera with anti-GBM antibodies plus ANCA were selected for further studies to compare the specificity of anti-GBM antibodies in sera with or without ANCA. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), all sera in both groups were found to react with the NC1 domain (as a hexamer) of bovine Type IV collagen and with alpha 3 (IV)NC1 monomers. Furthermore, all but six sera also reacted with one or more of the alpha 1, 2, and 4 (IV)NC1 monomers, generally with considerably lower titers. Reactivity to alpha 3(IV)NC1 was partially blocked by Mab17, with comparable degrees of inhibition in both groups. Western blot analysis with the human NC1 domains revealed no differences in reactivity between the two groups. Thus, differences in antigen specificities of anti-GBM antibodies in sera with or without ANCA were not detected. The anti-GBM response in both situations is hypothesized to be driven by the same immunogen, which is probably derived from NC1 domains of endogenous Type IV collagen.

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