Background: Signal transduction by mesangial cell (MC) integrins regulates cell growth and survival, extracellular matrix production, and organization. The aim of the study was to investigate human MC integrin modulation by differently glycosylated IgA and macromolecular IgA, which are thought to play a pathogenetic role in IgA nephropathy (IgAN).
Methods: MCs were incubated with purified human polymeric IgA, heat-aggregated IgA, IgA glycoforms generated by enzymatic hydrolysis of saccharide residues and serum fractions from IgAN patients, and controls isolated by lectin affinity and containing IgA with peculiar glycan patterns. Integrins were quantitated by flow cytometry.
Results: Cultured MCs highly expressed alphavbeta3 and some alpha3beta1; alphavbeta3 was up-regulated by matrix components (P < 0.02). In vitro desialylated and degalactosylated polymeric human IgA enhanced alphavbeta3 expression on cultured MCs (P < 0.001). Serum IgA glycoforms isolated from IgAN patients with high exposure of internal sugars, GalNAc, Neu5Ac2,6GalNAc, and Man enhanced alphav expression on cultured MCs more than healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS.: These data support the hypothesis that IgA glycation plays a role in modulating the cell-matrix interaction, and that this mechanism can be operating in IgAN.