Membranous nephropathy (MN) is an autoimmune-mediated glomerulonephritis. The roles of effector cells and immunoglobulins (Igs) in the mediation of glomerular injury in MN have not been fully elucidated. MN was induced by cationic bovine serum albumin (cBSA), and passive disease was induced by transferring effector cells or serum into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. MN could not be induced in SCID mice. Transfer of serum from MN mice, but not from normal control mice, to SCID mice induced granular immune complex deposits and pathologic proteinuria. Increased immunofluorescent staining for complement, oxidative stress, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end-labeling assay-positive cells, and augmented phospho-NF-κB staining were evident in the kidneys of MN serum recipients. However, no histological or clinical manifestations were exhibited by SCID mice that received an adoptive transfer of splenocytes. Adaptive immunity was essential for the development of MN. Specific Igs and their subsequent response contribute to the development of renal injury in cBSA-induced MN.
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