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autoantibody p. 113
Membranous glomerulonephritis, also known as membranous nephropathy, is where the glomerular basement membrane, or GBM, which lines the glomeruli in the kidney, becomes inflamed and damaged, which results in increased permeability and proteins being able to filter through into the urine, causing nephrotic syndrome.
But what exactly is nephrotic syndrome? Well usually the glomerulus only lets small molecules, like sodium and water, move from the blood into the kidney nephron, where it eventually makes its way into the urine. But with nephrotic syndromes, the glomeruli are damaged and they become more permeable, so they start letting plasma proteins come across from the blood to the nephron and then into the urine, which causes proteinuria, typically greater than 3.5 grams per day.
An important protein in the blood is albumin, and so when it starts leaving the blood, people get hypoalbuminemia—low albumin in the blood.
Finally, it’s thought that as a result of either losing albumin or losing some protein or proteins that inhibit the synthesis of lipids, or fat, you get increased levels of lipid in the blood, called hyperlipidemia.
Just like the proteins, these lipids can also get into the urine, causing hyperlipiduria.
Alright, so with membranous glomerulonephritis, the basement membrane becomes damaged which causes nephrotic syndrome. How does this happen, though? Well, ultimately this damage is caused by immune complexes—complexes composed of an antigen with an antibody bound to it.
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