Histones can mediate the binding of DNA and anti-DNA to the glomerular basement membrane (GBM). In ELISA histone/DNA/anti-DNA complexes are able to bind to heparan sulfate (HS), an intrinsic constituent of the GBM. We questioned whether histone containing immune complexes are able to bind to the GBM, and if so, whether the ligand in the GBM is HS. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) complexed to nucleosomal antigens and noncomplexed mAbs were isolated from culture supernatants of four IgG anti-nuclear mAbs. All noncomplexed mAbs showed strong anti-nucleosome reactivity in ELISA. One of them showed in addition anti-DNA reactivity in noncomplexed form. The other three mAbs only showed anti-DNA reactivity when they were complexed to nucleosomal antigens. After renal perfusion a fine granular binding of complexed mAbs to the glomerular capillary wall and activation of complement was observed in immunofluorescence, whereas noncomplexed mAbs did not bind. Immuno-electron microscopy showed binding of complexes to the whole width of the GBM. When HS in the GBM was removed by renal heparinase perfusion the binding of complexed mAb decreased, but did not disappear completely. We conclude that anti-nucleosome mAbs, which do not bind DNA, become DNA reactive once complexed to nucleosomal antigens. These complexed mAbs can bind to the GBM. The binding ligand in the GBM is partly, but not solely, HS. Binding to the GBM of immune complexes containing nucleosomal material might be an important event in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis.
C Kramers, M N Hylkema, M C van Bruggen, R van de Lagemaat, H B Dijkman, K J Assmann, R J Smeenk, J H Berden
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.