Experimental acute glomerulonephritis induced in the rabbit with a specific streptococcal antigen

Clin Exp Immunol. 1997 Jan;107(1):61-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.1997.d01-897.x.


FITC-labelled IgG obtained from patients convalescing from acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN) stains glomeruli of patients with early APSGN. We previously reported a streptococcal antigen (preabsorbing antigen (PA-Ag)) that preabsorbed the stain out of sera from the convalescent patients and thus prevented glomerular staining. To confirm the nephritogenicity of PA-Ag, we administered up to 40 mg of this antigen to rabbits for 8 days and observed them for up to 9 weeks. Immunohistological analysis showed diffuse and global glomerular staining for C3 without notable staining for gamma-globulin. Light microscopic examinations revealed slight to moderate proliferative glomerulonephritis with exudative change. Control rabbits, which received similar doses of bovine serum albumin, did not show significant staining for C3. A transient and significant decrease in CH50 was observed from weeks 3 to 7 (9.7 +/- 0.3 U/ml at week 3; normal range 12.9 +/- 0.6 U/ml). This experimental model showed a resemblance to immunological and immunohistological features of APSGN in humans. Although the precise mechanisms are yet to be determined, complement activation by PA-Ag seems to hold a key position in this model and in the human disease.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology*
  • Glomerulonephritis / microbiology*
  • Glomerulonephritis / pathology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / microbiology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Streptococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Streptococcal Infections / pathology
  • Streptococcal Infections / urine
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / immunology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial