The effect of the nephrotic syndrome induced by puromycin aminonucleoside (PA) in rats on specific antibody responses to 2,4 dinitrophenyl (DNP) conjugated to either spider crab haemocyanin (MSH), a T cell-dependent antigen, or hydroxyethyl starch (HES), a T cell-independent type 2 antigen were studied. The serum IgG anti-DNP levels following immunization with both antigens were reduced in nephrotic animals compared with controls while IgM anti-DNP antibody titres were higher. The half-life of IgG anti-DNP antibodies passively transferred into non-immunized nephrotic rats was markedly reduced while the half-life of anti-DNP antibodies of the IgM class was comparable to that in controls. Low serum IgG and elevated IgM levels were seen in nephrotic animals compared to controls. Antibody-forming cells specific for DNP were demonstrated by immunohistology on rat spleens and the numbers of both IgG and IgM-producing cells were found to be significantly increased (P less than 0.05) in nephrotic animals in response to both DNP-HES and DNP-MSH. These data indicate that in nephrotic rats the alteration seen in the serum immunoglobulin levels is not attributable to reduced antibody production but increased catabolism of serum IgG antibodies
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