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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 579670, 8 pages
Review Article

Mesangial Cell-Specific Antibodies Are Central to the Pathogenesis of Lupus Nephritis

1EA2216 “Immunology & Pathology” and IFR146 “ScInBios,” European University of Brittany, 29200 Brest, France
2Unit of Nephrology, Brest University Medical School Hospital, 29609 Brest, France
3Laboratory of Immunology, Brest University Medical School Hospital, BP824, 29609 Brest, France

Received 23 June 2011; Revised 31 August 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: Sara Marsal

Copyright © 2012 Guillaume Seret et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Not only is nephritis a common complaint in systemic lupus erythematosus, but it is also the most life-threatening complication of the disease. Anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies (Abs), which are found in up to 80% of these patients, might be nephritogenic per se. That is, they may cross-react with mesangial cell (MC) surface proteins, such as alpha-actinin and annexin A2, they may cross-react with mesangial matrix protein such as laminine and fibronectin, or they may recognize chromatin material previously deposited in the glomeruli. The consequence of the binding of anti-MC Abs may be their internalization, which results in activation and proliferation of these MCs. In turn, these activated MCs are suspected of promoting immune complex formation by sequestering and thereby protecting chromatin from degradation. The present paper will explain the mechanisms through which such autoAbs may initiate nephritis.