Autoantibodies against phospholipase A2 receptor in Korean patients with membranous nephropathy

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 26;8(4):e62151. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062151. Print 2013.


The data were presented in abstract form at the 45(th) meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, October 30-November 04 2012, San Diego, CA, USA. Circulating autoantibodies against M-type phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) are important pathogenic antibodies of idiopathic membranous nephropathy (MN) in adults. However, previous studies on the clinical impact of anti-PLA2R antibodies demonstrated several limitations, including insufficient numbers of study subjects and different time points and methods for anti-PLA2R antibody measurement. To verify the clinical significance of anti-PLA2R antibodies in Korean patients with MN, we measured autoantibodies in serum samples obtained at the time of biopsy from a total of 100 patients with idiopathic MN who had not yet received immunosuppressive treatment. We detected anti-PLA2R antibody in 69 patients, and we observed that autoantibody reactivity reflected the severity of disease activity. Proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia were more severe in patients with anti-PLA2R than in those without the autoantibodies (2.95 g/g vs. 6.85 g/g, P = 0.003; 3.1 g/dL vs. 2.5 g/dL, P = 0.004, respectively). Additionally, the clinical severities worsened proportionally as the levels of anti-PLA2R antibodies increased (P = 0.015 and P for trend <0.001 for proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia, respectively). However, neither the levels nor the presence or absence of anti-PLA2R antibody showed a significant correlation with clinical outcomes, such as remission rate and time to remission. In conclusion, we observed that anti-PLA2R antibodies are highly prevalent in Korean patients with idiopathic MN and that they reflect the clinical disease activity before the administration of immunosuppressive treatment. However, the levels of anti-PLA2R antibody at the time of kidney biopsy may not predict the clinical outcomes in current clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asians*
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biopsy
  • Blotting, Western
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / blood*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / immunology*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Phospholipase A2 / immunology*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptors, Phospholipase A2

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant from the Korean Healthcare Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, Republic of Korea (A110717). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript