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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Circulating anti-phospholipase A2 receptor antibodies as a diagnostic and prognostic marker in Greek patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy - a retrospective cohort study

Simella Provatopoulou, Dimitra Kalavrizioti, Maria Stangou, Maria-Nikoleta Kouri, Pantellitsa Kalliakmani, Marios Papasotiriou, Evangelos Papachristou, Dimitrios S Goumenos, Aikaterini Papagianni
Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine 2018 December 1
30864406

INTRODUCTION: Circulating autoantibodies against phospholipase A2 receptor (anti-PLA2R) are recognized as key elements in the pathogenesis of idiopathic membranous nephropathy. In current clinical practice, they are increasingly gaining attention as novel tools for diagnosis and disease monitoring. We investigated the diagnostic and prognostic utility of anti-PLA2R antibody measurements in Greek patients with biopsy-proven membranous nephropathy.

METHODS: Anti-PLA2R levels were measured in serum samples from 33 patients at diagnosis using ELISA and were associated with treatment outcome. Moreover, serial anti-PLA2R measurements were performed in 15 patients under different clinical conditions and level alterations were correlated with disease activity.

RESULTS: Positive anti-PLA2R antibodies at diagnosis were found in 16 of 33 patients (48.5%). Anti-PLA2R levels were independently associated with the achievement of complete remission of nephrotic syndrome after immunosuppressive treatment compared to partial remission (p=0.02, R2= 0.265, 95%CI -0.019 to -0.0003). Higher detectable antibody levels at diagnosis were correlated with higher proteinuria levels (r=0.813, p=0.0001, 95%CI 0.532 to 0.933) and lower eGFR at the end of follow-up (r=-0.634, p=0.0083, 95%CI -0.86 to -0.202). Serial antibody measurements during follow-up showed that anti-PLA2R titers were significantly reduced at the end of treatment after complete remission was achieved, remained low under sustained clinical remission, and increased during relapse.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirm the usefulness of anti-PLA2R measurements in the diagnosis of idiopathic membranous nephropathy. Low levels of anti-PLA2R antibodies at diagnosis are predictive of complete remission of nephrotic syndrome following immunosuppressive treatment. Serial anti-PLA2R measurements correlate well with clinical status throughout the follow-up period and could be used routinely for monitoring of disease activity and treatment planning.

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