Circulating anti-actin and anti-ATP synthase antibodies identify a sub-set of patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome

L. Musante, G. Candiano, M. Bruschi, L. Santucci, B. Carnemolla, P. Orecchia, M. Giampuzzi, C. Zennaro, S. Sanna-Cherchi, M. Carraro, R. Oleggini, G. Camussi, F. Perfumo, G. M. Ghiggeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (iNS) with resistance or dependence to steroids is a common disease in children but in spite of an increasing clinical impact its pathogenesis is unknown. We screened for the presence of circulating antibodies against glomerular (podocytes, mesangium) and tubular cells (tubular epithelia) a cohort of 60 children with iNS including 8 patients with a familial trait of iNS or with proven mutation of NPHS1-NPHS2 and 12 with good sensitivity to steroids. Positive sera were found in 8 cases, all belonging to the category without familial trait/molecular defects. The targets of antibodies were characterized with Western blot and MALDI-Mass utilizing β-hexyl cell extracts separated with two-dimensional electrophoresis. In all cases antibodies of the IgM class were directed against ATP synthase β chain alone (4 cases) or in combination with actin (3 cases); one child presented IgG against aldose reductase. The clinical picture was nephrotic syndrome with steroid resistance or dependence and variable cyclosporin sensitivity; 3 patients developed end stage renal failure. The basic pathology picture was focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 4 cases and mesangial proliferative glomerulonephrites with deposition of IgM in 2. Overall, patients with circulating auto-antibodies could not be readely differentiated on clinical grounds with the exception of 3 children who developed positivity for antinuclear antibodies during the follow-up. Affinity-purified IgM from one patient who underwent plasmapheresis for therapeutical pourposes (but not from a normal pool) induced proteinuria in Sprague-Dawley rats and concomitant human IgM deposition within glomeruli. This is the first report of circulating anti-actin/ATP synthase β chain antibodies in a subset of patients with iNS. Both pathological significance and clinical impact given by the presence of these antibodies and the relationship with other conditions such as lupus-erythematosus, characterized by their presence, must be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-499
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Actin
  • ATP synthase
  • Auto-antibodies
  • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
  • Mesangial proliferative glomerulonephrites
  • Nephrotic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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