Which serologic findings are characteristic of poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020
  • Author: Duvuru Geetha, MD, MRCP; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Serologic findings are as follows:

  • Low serum complement levels indicative of an antigen-antibody interaction are a universal finding in the acute phase of APSGN

  • Most patients have marked depression of serum hemolytic component CH50 and serum concentrations of C3

  • The decrease in C3 concentration typically occurs before the increase in ASO titers [18]

  • The activation of the alternative pathway of the complement system is thought to be responsible for the hypocomplementemia

  • In some patients, the levels of C2 and C4 may also be decreased, but to a lesser extent, suggesting that both classic and alternate pathways of the complement system are activated

  • In most uncomplicated cases, the complement levels return to normal in 6-8 weeks. Prolonged hypocomplementemia suggests an alternative diagnosis

  • Occasionally, low complement levels persist for 3 months

  • The level of reduction of serum complement levels does not have any prognostic significance

  • Circulating immune complexes and cryoglobulins are found in 60% of cases, and rheumatoid factor is found in 43% of cases

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