What is the role of the immune complex in the pathophysiology of acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN)?

Updated: Dec 05, 2018
  • Author: Rajendra Bhimma, MBChB, MD, PhD, DCH (SA), FCP(Paeds)(SA), MMed(Natal); Chief Editor: Craig B Langman, MD  more...
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An immune complex–mediated mechanism is the most widely proposed mechanism leading to the development of APSGN. Nephritogenic streptococci produce proteins with unique antigenic determinants. These antigenic determinants have a particular affinity for sites within the normal glomerulus. Following release into the circulation, the antigens bind to these sites within the glomerulus. Once bound to the glomerulus, they activate complement directly by interaction with properdin.

Glomerular-bound streptococcal antibodies also serve as fixed antigens and bind to circulating antistreptococcal antibodies, forming immune complexes. Complement fixation via the classic pathway leads to the generation of additional inflammatory mediators and recruitment of inflammatory cells.

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