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Serum under-O-glycosylated IgA1 level is not correlated with glomerular IgA deposition based upon heterogeneity in the composition of immune complexes in IgA nephropathy

Kenji Satake1, Yoshio Shimizu1*, Yohei Sasaki1, Hiroyuki Yanagawa1, Hitoshi Suzuki1, Yusuke Suzuki1, Satoshi Horikoshi1, Shinichiro Honda2, Kazuko Shibuya2, Akira Shibuya2 and Yasuhiko Tomino1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Juntendo University Faculty of Medicine, 2-1-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan

2 Department of Immunology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

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BMC Nephrology 2014, 15:89  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-89

Published: 13 June 2014



Although serum under-O-glycosylated IgA1 in IgA nephropathy (IgAN) patients may deposit more preferentially in glomeruli than heavily-O-glycosylated IgA1, the relationship between the glomerular IgA deposition level and the O-glycan profiles of serum IgA1 remains obscure.


Serum total under-O-glycosylated IgA1 levels were quantified in 32 IgAN patients by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with Helix aspersa (HAA) lectin. Serum under-O-glycosylated polymeric IgA1 (pIgA1) was selectively measured by an original method using mouse Fcα/μ receptor (mFcα/μR) transfectant and flow cytometry (pIgA1 trap). The percentage area of IgA deposition in the whole glomeruli (Area-IgA) was quantified by image analysis on the immunofluorescence of biopsy specimens. Correlations were assessed between the Area-IgA and data from HAA-ELISA or pIgA1 trap. The relationships between clinical parameters and data from HAA-ELISA or pIgA1 trap were analyzed by data mining approach.


While the under-O-glycosylated IgA1 levels in IgAN patients were significantly higher than those in healthy controls when measured (p < 0.05), there was no significant difference in under-O-glycosylated pIgA1. There was neither a correlation observed between the data from HAA-ELISA and pIgA1 trap (r2 = 0.09) in the IgAN patients (r2 = 0.005) nor was there a linear correlation between Area-IgA and data from HAA-ELISA or the pIgA1 trap (r2 = 0.005, 0.03, respectively). Contour plots of clinical parameters versus data from HAA-ELISA and the pIgA1 trap revealed that patients with a high score in each clinical parameter concentrated in specific areas, showing that patients with specific O-glycan profiles of IgA1 have similar clinical parameters. A decision tree analysis suggested that dominant immune complexes in glomeruli were consisted of: 1) IgA1-IgG and complements, 2) pIgA1 and complements, and 3) monomeric IgA1-IgA or aggregated monomeric IgA1.


Serum under-O-glycosylated IgA1 levels are not correlated with glomerular IgA deposition based upon heterogeneity in the composition of glomerular immune complexes in IgAN patients.

Under-O-glycosylated IgA1; Glomerular IgA deposition; Decision tree analysis