Development of a Standardized Chemiluminescence Immunoassay for the Detection of Autoantibodies Against Human M-Type Phospholipase A2 Receptor in Primary Membranous Nephropathy

Kidney Int Rep. 2019 Nov 22;5(2):182-188. doi: 10.1016/j.ekir.2019.11.008. eCollection 2020 Feb.


Introduction: Autoantibodies against the M-type phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) are important markers in the diagnosis and monitoring of primary membranous nephropathy (pMN). For the detection of anti-PLA2R autoantibodies, a standardized recombinant cell-based indirect immunofluorescence assay (RC-IFA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) are widely used, the former providing higher sensitivity but lacking a finely graduated quantification of antibody titers. In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic performance characteristics of a novel standardized chemiluminescence immunoassay (ChLIA) by comparison with the established anti-PLA2R test systems.

Methods: Sera from 155 patients with biopsy-proven pMN and 154 disease controls were analyzed for autoantibodies against PLA2R by the novel ChLIA as well as by ELISA and RC-IFA.

Results: The clinical sensitivity of the ChLIA (83.9%) was higher compared with ELISA (73.5%) and equaled that of RC-IFA (83.2%), at similar specificities (≥99.4%). Among ELISA-negative pMN samples, ChLIA and RC-IFA yielded positive results in 39.0% and 36.6%, respectively. The qualitative agreement amounted to 94.5% (ChLIA vs. ELISA) and 99.4% (ChLIA vs. RC-IFA).

Conclusion: The novel anti-PLA2R ChLIA outperforms the ELISA in detecting patients with pMN and demonstrates almost perfect agreement with RC-IFA. It thus presents a promising alternative tool for accurate anti-PLA2R testing, with the advantage of rapid turnaround times and fully automated random-access processing.

Keywords: anti-PLA2R; autoantibody; chemiluminescence immunoassay; membranous nephropathy; phospholipase A2 receptor.