Purpose of review
Multiple antigenic targets were discovered in membranous nephropathy, representing distinct autoimmune diseases with a similar morphologic pattern of injury. An overview of recent developments, including antigen types, clinical associations, serologic monitoring, and advancements in understanding disease pathogenesis are provided.
Several new antigenic targets have defined subtypes of membranous nephropathy, including Neural epidermal growth factor-like 1, protocadherin 7, HTRA1, FAT1, SEMA3B, NTNG1, NCAM1, exostosin 1/2, transforming growth factor beta receptor 3, CNTN1, proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 6, and neuron-derived neurotrophic factor. Autoantigens in membranous nephropathy may demonstrate unique clinical associations, assisting the nephrologist to identify potential disease etiologies and triggers, such as autoimmune disease, cancer, medications, and infections.
We are entering an exciting era for which an antigen-based approach will further define subtypes of membranous nephropathy, allow for development of noninvasive diagnostics, and improve care for patients.