Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 485–492 | Cite as

T-lymphocyte activation in IgA nephropathy: Serum-soluble interleukin 2 receptor level, interleukin 2 production, and interleukin 2 receptor expression by cultured lymphocytes

  • Kar Neng Lai
  • Joseph C. K. Leung
  • Fernand Mac-Moune Lai
  • John S. Tam
Original Articles


The present study was undertaken to examine the T-lymphocyte activation in IgA nephropathy. Serum-soluble interleukin 2 receptor (sIL2R) levels were studied in 29 IgA nephritic patients, 17 patients with chronic glomerulonephritis (non-IgA nephropathy), and 30 healthy controls during an infection-free period. No difference in serum sIL2R level was demonstrated among these three groups of subjects. However, the serum sIL2R levels of IgA nephritic patient rose significantly during clinical exacerbation with synpharyngitic macroscopic hematuria and the serum sIL2R levels fell when hematuria subsided. Mitogen-stimulated cellular interleukin 2 receptor (IL2R) expression, sIL2R release, and interleukin 2 (IL2) production were also examined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) cultured for 24–48 hr in 21 patients with IgA nephropathy, 17 patients with chronic glomerulonephritides, and 17 healthy controls. The total cellular IL2R expression and sIL2R release did not differ among these three groups of subjects. However, the individual T-cell subsets bearing IL2R were distinctly different between IgA nephritic patients and the other two groups of controls. IgA nephritic patients had increased activated CD4+ lymphocytes and reduced activated CD8+ lymphocytes. Furthermore, IL2 production in response to phytohemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen stimulation was increased in lymphocytes from patients with IgA nephropathy. The IL2 production did not correlate with the quantities of cellular and sIL2R yet the cellular IL2R expression paralleled the sIL2R released by cultured lymphocytes. Our present study suggests that the T lymphocytes from patients with IgA nephropathy have a defect in overproduction of IL2 and increased activated T helper-cell subset upon mitogenic stimulation. Serum measurement of sIL2R could potentially be useful in monitoring the disease activity.

Key words

IgA nephropathy lymphocyte cellular and soluble interleukin 2 receptor interleukin 2 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kar Neng Lai
    • 1
  • Joseph C. K. Leung
    • 1
  • Fernand Mac-Moune Lai
    • 2
  • John S. Tam
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Prince of Wales HospitalThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Morbid Anatomy, Prince of Wales HospitalThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology, Prince of Wales HospitalThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong

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