Autoimmunity is now unequivocally regarded as the predominant pathogenic process underlying most forms of primary and secondary glomerulonephritis in humans. Most of the investigations so far have been focused upon humoral mechanisms. Consequently, the role of cell-mediated immunity in nephritis is still incompletely understood. Nonetheless, as a result of contemporary studies, a number of previously unidentified auto-antibodies in association with glomerulonephritis have been discovered. However, apart from anti-NC1 antibodies in the classical Goodpasture syndrome, the exact role of these auto-antibodies in the pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis yet remains undefined. This fact, however, does not undermine the relevance of exploring these auto-antibodies. They have been of immense help in sub-classifying glomerulonephritis previously thought homogeneous (Figure 3). Besides, analysis of autoantibodies has assisted tremendously in the early diagnosis of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. This, in turn, has aided in early commencement of therapy thus contributing to regression in morbidity and mortality resulting from these disorders. Moreover, investigation of these autoantibodies is of enormous value for future studies aimed at understanding the pathogenic mechanisms involved in glomerulonephritis.
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