Contactin 1, a Potential New Antigen Target in Membranous Nephropathy: A Case Report

Domenico Santoro*, Hanna Debiec, Elisa Longhitano, Massimo Torreggiani, Antonella Barreca, Elisa Vegezzi, Anna Mazzeo, Massimo Russo, Giorgina Barbara Piccoli, Antonio Toscano, Pierre Ronco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Several novel antigens have recently been characterized in membranous nephropathy (MN), but those involved in the rare cases of MN associated with inflammatory neuropathies remain elusive. Although several antibodies have been identified in the serum, there is no evidence so far for their deposition in glomeruli. We report the case of a 73-year-old woman who was referred because of subacute onset of proximal asymmetric lower limb weakness together with ataxic gait. She was diagnosed with inflammatory neuropathy. Testing showed an estimated glomerular filtration rate of 73 mL/min/1.73 m2, hypoalbuminemia (2.89 g/dL), and proteinuria (3.6 g/d). Autoantibodies (antinuclear antibody, anti–extractable nuclear antigen antibody, anti–double stranded DNA antibody, lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin antibody, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody) were undetectable. Serum immunoglobulin and complement levels were normal. A kidney biopsy with electron microscopy examination showed a classical picture of MN. Testing for antibodies to phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) gave negative results in the serum, and PLA2R and THSD7A antigens were not detected in kidney tissue. Anti–contactin 1 (CNTN1) antibody was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at a 1:100 dilution of serum and shown to be mostly of IgG4 subclass by Western blot. CNTN1 antigen was colocalized with IgG4 within immune deposits by confocal microscopy. This observation suggests a pathophysiological link between inflammatory neuropathies and MN. CNTN1 should be considered as a potential candidate antigen involved in MN and tested in PLA2R-negative forms associated with inflammatory neuropathies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-294
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Cite this