Leucine-rich α2-glycoprotein-1 upregulation in plasma and kidney of patients with lupus nephritis

BMC Nephrol. 2020 Apr 6;21(1):122. doi: 10.1186/s12882-020-01782-0.


Background: Increased leucine-rich α2-glycoprotein-1 (LRG1) has been observed in various inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. We aimed to explore the expression and role of LRG1 in lupus nephritis (LN).

Methods: Plasma LRG1 (pLRG1) was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 101 patients with renal biopsy-proven LN and 21 healthy controls (HC). Relationships between pLRG1 and clinical and pathological characteristics were analyzed. The expression of LRG1 in peripheral blood leukocytes and kidney was detected by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence, respectively. Further cell experiments were focused on the role of LRG1.

Results: We found that LRG1 was expressed in plasma, some peripheral blood leukocytes, proximal tubule and several inflammatory cells. The levels of LRG1 in plasma, peripheral blood leukocytes and kidney were elevated in LN patients as compared to HC. Plasma expression levels of LRG1 correlated positively with renal function and renal disease activity, and reflect specific pathologic lesions in the kidneys of patients with LN. Interleukin-1β and interleukin-6, not tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon γ induced the LRG1 expression in human renal tubular epithelial cell line. Moreover, stimulation of recombinant human LRG1 could inhibit late apoptosis, promote proliferation and regulate expression of inflammatory factors and cytokines.

Conclusions: Plasma expression levels of LRG1 were associated with renal function, disease activity, and pathology in LN. It might also be involved in renal inflammation, proliferation and apoptosis of endothelial cells. LRG1 might be a potential prognosis novel predictor in LN patients.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Inflammation; Leucine-rich α2-glycoprotein-1; Lupus nephritis; Proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apoptosis
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Correlation of Data
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins* / blood
  • Glycoproteins* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kidney Function Tests / methods
  • Kidney Tubules* / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules* / pathology
  • Lupus Nephritis* / blood
  • Lupus Nephritis* / diagnosis
  • Lupus Nephritis* / pathology
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Transcriptome
  • Up-Regulation


  • Cytokines
  • Glycoproteins
  • LRG1 protein, human