These observations established the presence of anti-GBM antibodies in the sera and/or kidneys of six humans with glomerulonephritis. Further, it seems clear that these antibodies do combine with the host's glomeruli in vivo and with GBM antigen of several species in vitro.
Transfer of acute glomerulonephritis to normal recipient monkeys was possible with serum or renal eluate IGG from the three patients with anti-GBM antibodies in whom sufficient material was available. Based on this transfer of nephritis and on the presence of these antibodies at the site of injury in the nephritic kidneys of both the patients and the recipient monkeys, it seems likely that they are at least a contributing, if not primary, cause of the glomerular injury.
The frequency of anti-GBM antibodies in human nephritis is not certain, but on the basis of preliminary observations it would appear that they are present in all cases of Goodpasture's nephritis and somewhat less than half of the cases of subacute and chronic glomerulonephritis of adults.
The nature and source of immunogen stimulating the production of anti-GBM antibodies is not known, but the presence of potentially nephritogenic GBM antigens in normal urine raises the question of possible autoimmunization.
From a practical point of view, it appears that patients forming anti-GBM antibodies may not be good candidates for renal transplantation since they are likely to produce in the transplants the nephritic changes already suffered by their own kidneys.