Anti-Neuron-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Antibodies in Secondary Membranous Nephropathy Caused by Syphilis: A Case Report

Am J Kidney Dis. 2024 Mar 22:S0272-6386(24)00685-1. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2024.02.007. Online ahead of print.


We present the case of a 61-year-old man who developed nephrotic syndrome as a result of syphilis-associated secondary membranous nephropathy (MN). The patient showed nephrotic syndrome remission following antibiotic treatment for syphilis alone. Pathologically, the target antigen of immune complexes accumulated on glomerular basement membranes (GBM) in secondary MN caused by syphilis has been reported to be neuron-derived neurotrophic factor (NDNF). His renal histopathology was consistent with secondary MN caused by syphilis, with a full-house pattern on immunofluorescence microscopy, in addition to NDNF deposits that colocalized with IgG deposits granularly on the GBM. However, to date, there is no serological evidence for the involvement of NDNF in the GBM. In the present study, we found that anti-NDNF autoantibodies in the acute-phase serum disappeared in the convalescent-phase serum of a patient who recovered from syphilis and nephrotic syndrome after antibiotic therapy alone. This result supports the hypothesis that treatment of syphilis with antibiotics suppresses NDNF's antigenicity. In summary, we found new serological evidence emphasizing that NDNF is an etiological antigen in secondary MN caused by syphilis.

Keywords: Anti-neuron–derived neurotrophic factor antibody; Immune complex; Nephrotic syndrome; Neuron-derived neurotrophic factor; Secondary membranous nephropathy; Syphilis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports