JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Glomerular plasmin-like activity in relation to nephritis-associated plasmin receptor in acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis.

A nephritogenic antigen for acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN) was isolated recently from group A streptococcus and termed nephritis-associated plasmin receptor (NAPlr). In vitro experimental data indicate that the pathogenic role of NAPlr occurs through its ability to bind to plasmin and maintain its proteolytic activity. However, the mechanism whereby this antigen induces glomerular damage in vivo has not been fully elucidated. Renal biopsy tissues from 17 patients with APSGN, 8 patients with rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, and 10 normal kidneys were analyzed in this study. Plasmin-like activity was assessed on cryostat sections by in situ zymography with a plasmin-sensitive synthetic substrate. Serial sections were simultaneously assessed for NAPlr deposition by immunofluorescence staining. Glomerular plasmin-like activity was absent or weak in normal controls and in patients with rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, although tubulointerstitial activity was occasionally detected. Prominent glomerular plasmin-like activity was found in patients who had APSGN and in whom glomerular NAPlr was positive, whereas it was absent or weak in patients who had APSGN and in whom glomerular NAPlr was negative. The distribution of glomerular plasmin-like activity was identical to that of NAPlr deposition but was generally different from that of fibrin(ogen) deposition as assessed by double staining. The activity was abolished by the addition of aprotinin to the reaction mixture but was not altered by the addition of a matrix metalloprotease inhibitor, a cysteine protease inhibitor, or inhibitors of plasminogen activators. Thus, upregulated glomerular plasmin-like activity in relation to NAPlr deposition in APSGN was identified. This result supports the nephritogenic character of NAPlr and offers insight into the mechanism whereby this antigen induces nephritis.

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