Serological Measurement of Poly-IgA Immune Complex Levels in IgA Nephropathy and IgA Vasculitis

Xue Zhang, Jicheng Lv*, Pan Liu, Xinfang Xie, Xinyan Li, Hong Zhang, Jing Jin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Both IgA nephropathy and IgA vasculitis, formerly known as Henoch-Schӧnlein purpura, are immune deposition diseases. IgA nephropathy is caused by the deposition of aberrantly formed poly-IgA complexes from blood circulation to the kidney glomerulus; IgA vasculitis is characterized by IgA-dominant immune deposits to small vessels of the skin and other organs, including the kidney. Therefore, measuring the disease-causing poly-IgA contents in the plasma is needed to study these conditions. However, while clinical tests for the level of total plasma IgA are routinely performed, methods for specific detection of poly-IgA contents are unavailable in clinical medicine. In this protocol, we describe a practical solution for measuring poly-IgA in patient samples. The new method is based on the biological selectivity of IgA Fcα receptor I (FcαRI/CD89) toward poly-IgA species, in contrast to its relatively low affinity for normal monomeric IgA. By devising recombinant CD89 ectodomain as the “capturing” probe, wevalidated the feasibility of the assay for measuring plasma poly-IgA levels in a 96-well format. The methodology was able to differentiate plasma samples of IgA nephropathy, or related IgA vasculitis, from those of other autoimmune kidney disease types or from healthy controls. Moreover, the measured poly-IgA indices not only correlated with the severity of IgA nephropathy, but the levels also trended lower following corticosteroid or immunosuppressant treatments of patients. Therefore, we anticipate the new assay will provide useful measurements of the IgA nephropathy disease activity index for stratifying disease severity or for evaluating treatment response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4463
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 5 2022


  • CD89/IgA Fc receptor
  • Circulating IgA immune activity index
  • ELISA method
  • IgA nephropathy
  • IgA vasculitis/Henoch-Schӧnlein purpura
  • Poly-IgA immune complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Plant Science


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