Heterogeneity of Target Antigens in Sarcoidosis-Associated Membranous Nephropathy

Dalia Zubidat, Benjamin Madden, Satoru Kudose, Samih H. Nasr, Luca Nardelli, Fernando C. Fervenza, Sanjeev Sethi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Membranous nephropathy (MN) is the most common glomerular disease associated with sarcoidosis. The target antigen M-type phospholipase A2 receptor 1 (PLA2R) has been identified in a subset of sarcoidosis-associated MN. The target antigen is not known in the remaining sarcoidosis-associated MN. Methods: Data of patients with history of sarcoidosis and biopsy-proven MN were retrieved and analyzed. Mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was performed on all kidney biopsies of sarcoidosis-associated MN to detect the target antigens. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) studies were performed to confirm and localize the target antigens along the glomerular basement membrane (GBM). Results: Eighteen patients with history of sarcoidosis and biopsy-proven MN were identified, of whom 3 were known to be PLA2R-negative, and in the remaining patients the target antigen was unknown. Thirteen (72%) patients were males; the median age at MN diagnosis was 54.5 years. The median proteinuria at presentation was proteinuria 9.8 g/24 h. Eight patients (44.4%) had concurrent sarcoidosis. Using MS/MS, we detected PLA2R and neural epidermal growth factor-like-1 protein (NELL1) in 7 (46.6%) and 4 (22.2%) patients, respectively. In addition, 1 case each (5.5%) was positive for thrombospondin type 1 domain-containing 7A (THSD7A), protocadherin-7 (PCDH7), and putative antigen Serpin B12. No known target antigen was detected in the remaining 4 patients (22.2%). Conclusion: Patients with sarcoidosis and MN exhibit heterogeneous target antigens. We identified, along with PLA2R, the presence of previously unreported antigens, including NELL1, PCDH7, and THSD7A. The incidence of the target antigens in sarcoidosis appears to mirror the overall incidence of target antigens in MN. MN in sarcoidosis may be the result of a heightened immune response and is not associated with a single target antigen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1219
Number of pages7
JournalKidney International Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • NELL1
  • PLA2R
  • mass spectrometry
  • membranous nephropathy
  • sarcoidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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