According to the renal phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) immunohistochemistry, idiopathic membranous nephropathy (iMN) could be categorized into PLA2R-associated and non-PLA2R-associated iMN. This study aimed to examine whether the non-PLA2R-associated iMN had any difference in clinical features compared with PLA2R-associated iMN.
A total of 231 adult patients diagnosed as iMN were recruited to this retrospective study. Renal PLA2R expression was examined by immunofluorescence. Among these patients, 186 (80.5%) with complete baseline clinical data were used for further study. Urinary protein excretion, serum albumin, and creatinine were analyzed. For those patients with follow-up longer than 1 year, the relationship between PLA2R and response to immunosuppressants were analyzed. The t-test was used for parametric analysis and the Mann-Whitney U-test was used for nonparametric analysis. Categorical variables were described as frequencies or percentages, and the data were analyzed with Pearson's Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test.
Of the 231 iMN patients, 189 showed renal detectable PLA2R expression (81.8%). The baseline serum creatinine, serum albumin, and urine protein excretion were not significantly different between PLA2R-associated ( n = 145) and non-PLA2R-associated iMN patients ( n = 41). However, about 1/3 of the non-PLA2R-associated iMN had abnormal serological tests, significantly more common than PLA2R-associated iMN (31.7% vs. 8.3%, P = 0.000). The non-PLA2R-associated iMN had lower C4 levels compared with PLA2R-associated iMN ( P = 0.004). The non-PLA2R-associated iMN patients also showed a better response to immunosuppressants (complete remission [CR] 42.9%; partial remission [PR] 14.3%) compared with PLA2R-associated iMN (CR 3.2%; PR 48.4%, P = 0.004) at the 3 rd month.
There were no significant differences in serum creatinine, albumin, and urine protein excretion between PLA2R-associated and non-PLA2R-associated iMN, while the non-PLA2R-associated iMN patients showed more abnormal serological tests. The non-PLA2R-associated iMN seemed to respond more quickly to the immunosuppressive therapy compared with PLA2R-associated iMN.