Research Papers:

BAFF and APRIL expression as an autoimmune signature of membranous nephropathy

Seung Seok Han, Seung Hee Yang, Hyung Ah Jo, Yun Jung Oh, Minkyoung Park, Joo Young Kim, Hajeong Lee, Jung Pyo Lee, Sang-Ho Lee, Kwon Wook Joo, Chun Soo Lim, Yon Su Kim and Dong Ki Kim _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:3292-3302. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23232

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Seung Seok Han1,2, Seung Hee Yang2, Hyung Ah Jo1, Yun Jung Oh2, Minkyoung Park2, Joo Young Kim2, Hajeong Lee1,2, Jung Pyo Lee1,2,3, Sang-Ho Lee4, Kwon Wook Joo1,2, Chun Soo Lim1,3, Yon Su Kim1,2 and Dong Ki Kim1,2

1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2Kidney Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

3Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea

4Department of Internal Medicine, College of medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to:

Dong Ki Kim, email: [email protected]

Keywords: APRIL; autoimmunity; BAFF; B cells; membranous nephropathy

Received: July 03, 2017     Accepted: November 14, 2017     Published: December 14, 2017


Background: Based on the fact that B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) have a regulatory role in B cell biology, excessive levels of these cytokines can promote autoimmune pathogenesis. However, the expression and implication remain unresolved in cases of membranous nephropathy (MN).

Results: The plasma BAFF levels of the primary MN patients were higher than those of healthy controls but lower than those of secondary MN patients, whereas the APRIL levels were similar between the MN patients and healthy controls. The BAFF levels were higher in relapse cases, whereas the APRIL levels were higher in the patients who did not experience remission compared with the counterpart patients. The ectopic expression of BAFF and APRIL was observed in the glomeruli or circulating B cells of MN patients, and this high expression trend was similar to that of lupus patients.

Conclusions: Expression profile of BAFF and APRIL in MN is similar to that of other autoimmune disease, which affects the kidney outcomes.

Methods: Plasma BAFF and APRIL levels were measured upon kidney biopsy in patients with primary (n = 89) and secondary MN (n = 13), and the results were compared with the levels in healthy controls (n = 111). The kidney outcomes (e.g., remission and relapse) were traced for the median of 3 years. Aberrant expression of the cytokines was evaluated in the kidney and circulating B cells using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry analyses, respectively.

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