IgA glomerulonephritis (Berger's disease): evidence of high serum levels of polymeric IgA

Clin Exp Immunol. 1980 Nov;42(2):247-54.


Eleven out of 15 patients with IgA mesangial glomerulonephritis (Berger's disease) had an increased proportion of serum IgA in 9-21S fractions on 5-40% sucrose density-gradient ultracentrifugation; the heavier fractions decreased at acid pH. Serum IgA purified by starch electrophoresis was subjected to reduction-alkylation yielding fragments of lower molecular weight. J chain was detected on urea alkaline polyacrylamide electrophoresis and the high-molecular weight IgA bound the human secretory component. In six patients treated with phenytoin for 1 year there was a decrease in polymeric IgA and an increase in monomeric IgA adopting a pattern similar to that of the controls. Our results show the presence of a large amount of true IgA polymers, partially as immune complexes, in the serum of patients with Berger's disease. These data together with their normalization after phenytoin treatment may open a new pathogenic and therapeutic approach to this entity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / analysis
  • Biopolymers
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Glomerulonephritis / drug therapy
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin J-Chains / analysis
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Biopolymers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin J-Chains
  • Phenytoin