Mixed cryoglobulinaemia (MC) is a disorder characterized by the presence of large amounts of cryoprecipitating IgM-IgG complexes. An immune complex glomerulonephritis develops in one third of all patients, but its occurrence does not seem related to the amount of cryoglobulins in the sera, nor to their complement-fixing ability. In this study we investigated the presence of IgG antibodies reactive with kidney antigens in 33 MC patients (11 with glomerulonephritis, 22 without renal involvement). A total glomerular extract was run on a 10% acrylamide gel, blotted to nitrocellulose and probed with the patients' sera. Sera from half of the patients without renal involvement reacted with several glomerular antigens whose molecular weight ranged between 200 and 29 kD. In the group with renal involvement, sera from 7/11 patients reacted with an antigen of 50 kD, which is also expressed in thymus, but not in the heart or liver. In a follow-up study of four patients with renal involvement, the amount of serum antibody specific for the 50-kD antigen fluctuated, either spontaneously or in response to therapy. These results show that antibodies specific for glomerular antigens are detectable in MC sera. The immune response against a 50-kD antigen expressed in the kidney and thymus seems to be restricted to a subset of MC patients with renal involvement. Circulating autoantibodies specific for glomerular antigens might contribute to the induction of glomerulonephritis in MC forming immune complexes in situ.
Autoantibodies from mixed cryoglobulinemia patients bind glomerular antigens / Dolcher, Mp; Marchini, B; Sabbatini, A; Longombardo, G; Ferri, Clodoveo; Riente, L; Bombardieri, S; Migliorini, P.. - In: CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL IMMUNOLOGY. - ISSN 0009-9104. - STAMPA. - 96:(1994), pp. 317-321.