17 March 2016
Serum phospholipase A2 receptor antibodies (SAbs) and glomerular phospholipase A2 receptor antigen (GAg) deposits have been observed in idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN). However, the clinical application of these two biomarkers, particularly GAg deposition, needs to be further evaluated. We measured SAb concentration by ELISA and GAg deposition by immunofluorescence in 572 patients with biopsy-proven IMN. Overall, 68.5% of patients (392 of 572) had detectable SAb (SAb+), and 98.7% of patients who were SAb+ (387 of 392) and 70.6% of patients who were SAb− (127 of 180) had GAg deposition (GAg+). Compared with patients who were SAb−/GAg+, patients who were SAb+/GAg+ exhibited higher levels of proteinuria ( P<0.001) and a lower chance of proteinuria remission ( P<0.001). In 52 patients who underwent repeat biopsies, patients who did not achieve remission had a higher SAb+ rate on the first biopsy than patients who went into remission ( P=0.001). Furthermore, SAb+ levels persisted in patients who did not achieve remission but significantly decreased in patients who achieved remission by the second biopsy. Patients who did not achieve remission also had a higher GAg+ rate on the first biopsy than patients who achieved remission ( P<0.01). Sustained GAg+ deposits correlated with disease relapse. In conclusion, combining the measurements of SAb levels and detection of GAg deposition may provide additional information regarding diagnoses, treatment response, and disease relapse in patients with IMN.