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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Jun;22(6):1137-43. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2010090967. Epub 2011 May 12.

Anti-phospholipase A2 receptor antibody in membranous nephropathy.

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Research Institute of Nephrology, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing 210002, China.


The M-type phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) is a target autoantigen in adult idiopathic membranous nephropathy (MN), but the prevalence of autoantibodies against PLA2R is unknown among Chinese patients with MN. Here, we measured anti-PLA2R antibody in the serum of 60 patients with idiopathic MN, 20 with lupus-associated MN, 16 with hepatitis B (HBV)-associated MN, and 10 with tumor-associated MN. Among patients with idiopathic MN, 49 (82%) had detectable anti-PLA2R autoantibodies using a Western blot assay; an assay with greater sensitivity detected very low titers of anti-PLA2R in 10 of the remaining 11 patients. Using the standard assay, we detected anti-PLA2R antibody in only 1 patient with lupus, 1 with HBV, and 3 with cancer, producing an overall specificity of 89% in this cohort limited to patients with secondary MN. The enhanced assay detected low titers of anti-PLA2R in only 2 additional samples of HBV-associated MN. In summary, these results suggest that PLA2R is a major target antigen in Chinese idiopathic MN and that detection of anti-PLA2R is a sensitive test for idiopathic MN.

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