Abstract

Childhood IgA nephropathy (IgAN) includes a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, from isolated hematuria to acute nephritis with rapid loss of kidney function. In adults, IgAN is an autoimmune disease and its pathogenesis involves galactose deficient (Gd) IgA1, IgG anti-Gd-IgA1 autoantibodies and the soluble IgA Fc receptor (CD89). However, implication of such factors, notably soluble CD89, in childhood IgAN pathogenesis remains unclear. Here, we studied these biomarkers in a cohort of 67 patients with childhood IgAN and 42 pediatric controls. While Gd-IgA1 was only moderately increased in patient plasma, levels of circulating IgA complexes (soluble CD89-IgA and IgG-IgA) and free soluble CD89 were markedly increased in childhood IgAN. Soluble CD89-IgA1 complexes and free soluble CD89 correlated with proteinuria, as well as histological markers of disease activity: mesangial, endocapillary hypercellularity and cellular crescents. Soluble CD89 was found in patient’s urine but not in urine from pediatric controls. Mesangial deposits of soluble CD89 were detected in biopsies from patients with childhood IgAN. Serum chromatographic fractions containing covalently linked soluble CD89-IgA1 complexes or free soluble CD89 from patients induced mesangial cell proliferation in vitro in a soluble CD89-dependent manner. Recombinant soluble CD89 induced mesangial cell proliferation in vitro which was inhibited by free soluble recombinant CD71 (also a mesangial IgA receptor) or mTOR blockers. Interestingly, injection of recombinant soluble CD89 induced marked glomerular proliferation and proteinuria in mice expressing human IgA1. Thus, free and IgA1-complexed soluble CD89 are key players in mesangial proliferation. Hence, our findings suggest that soluble CD89 plays an essential role in childhood IgAN pathogenesis making it a potential biomarker and therapeutic

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