Background: Although the pathogenesis of Henoch-Schönlein nephritis (HSN) remains unclear, there is substantial evidence that it is an immune complex-mediated disease. HSN is preceded by upper-respiratory tract infection in 30% to 50% of patients, but there is no evidence that group A streptococcal (GAS) infection has a pathogenetic role in this disease. Recently, nephritis-associated plasmin receptor (NAPlr), a GAS antigen, was found primarily in the glomerular mesangium of patients with early-stage acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Methods: To determine the possible role of NAPlr in HSN, expression of the receptor was determined in glomeruli using fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled rabbit polyclonal anti-NAPIr antibody, and serum antistreptolysin O (ASO) titers were measured in children with HSN.
Results: Ten of 33 patients (30%) with HSN showed segmental or global mesangial staining with NAPlr antibody, whereas only 4 of 120 patients (3%) with other renal diseases were positive (P < 0.001, Fisher's exact test). Patients with HSN also showed significantly greater ASO titers than patients with other renal diseases (P = 0.03, Mann-Whitney U test). Serum ASO titers were significantly greater in patients with HSN with than without glomerular NAPlr antigen (P = 0.03, Mann-Whitney U test).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the deposition of NAPlr in the mesangium, induced by GAS infection, may have a role in the pathogenesis of HSN in some patients. Am J Kidney Dis 41:366-370.
Copyright 2003 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.