IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is the most common primary glomerulonephritis in the world. It was first described in 1968 by Jean Berger and Nicole Hinglais as the presence of intercapillary deposits of IgA. Despite this simple description, patients with IgAN may present very broad clinical features ranging from the isolated presence of IgA in the mesangium without clinical or biological manifestations to rapidly progressive kidney failure. These features are associated with a variety of histological lesions, from the discrete thickening of the mesangial matrix to diffuse cell proliferation. Immunofluorescence on IgAN kidney specimens shows the isolated presence of IgA or its inconsistent association with IgG and complement components. This clinical heterogeneity of IgAN clearly echoes its complex and multifactorial pathophysiology in humans, inviting further analyses of its various aspects through the use of experimental models. Small-animal models of IgAN provide the most pertinent strategies for studying the multifactorial aspects of IgAN pathogenesis and progression. Although only primates have the IgA1 subclass, several murine models have been developed in which various aspects of immune responses are deregulated and which are useful in the understanding of IgAN physiopathology as well as in the assessment of IgAN therapeutic approaches. In this manuscript, we review all murine IgAN models developed since 1968 and discuss their remarkable contribution to understanding the disease.
Keywords: IgA; IgA nephropathy; kidney mesangium; mouse model.