Nephritogenic Immune Responses Involving Basement Membrane and Other Antigens in or of the Glomerulus

  • Curtis B. Wilson


The immune response, normally a life-protecting device, can injure and destroy body tissue, and lead to such diseases as glomerulonephritis and tubulointerstitial nephritis. Studies in experimental animals begun over 70 years ago, and similar studies in man over the past 10 to 15 years, have identified two ways in which the humoral immune system can lead to renal injury (Wilson and Dixon, 1976). These two mechanisms can be divided for purposes of discussion into groups, dependent on the physical state of the antigens involved. The first group of reactions, involves soluble antigens that react with antibody to form immune complexes (Dixon, 1963). If the soluble antigens are present in the circulation, circulating immune complexes form and later deposit nonspecifically in vascular sites throughout the body, including the glomeruli and peritubular capillaries. If the soluble antigens are in the extravascular renal tissue, an Arthus—like immune complex formation occurs in the interstitium, leading to a localized immune complex disease at the site of reaction (Unanue et al., 1967; Klassen et al., 1971). It should be noted that immune complexes remain in equilibrium with antigen or antibody present in the body fluids, so that the composition of an immune complex deposit may be continually modified (Wilson and Dixon, 1978). Immune complexes actually can be dissolved and removed from the site of injury if a state of great antigen excess is achieved (Wilson, 1974).


Immune Complex Glomerular Basement Membrane Pulmonary Hemorrhage Tubular Basement Membrane Glomerular Capillary Wall 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag US 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis B. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ImmunopathologyScripps Clinic and Research FoundationLa JollaUSA

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