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Renate Kain
MD Renate Kain, PhD.Head of Department of Pathology

Department of Pathology
Position: Professor

ORCID: 0000-0002-2428-543X
T +43 1 40400 36500

Further Information


Allergy and Immunology; Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis; Autoantibodies; Autoimmune Diseases; Autophagy; Cell Biology; Exosomes; Genomics; Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 2; Microbiology; Microscopy; Microscopy, Confocal; Microscopy, Electron, Transmission; Microscopy, Immunoelectron; Nephrology; Pathology; Proteomics

Research group(s)

  • Renal Pathology and Immunopathology
    Head: Renate Kain
    Research Area: Pathogenesis of ANCA associated autoimmune vasculitis (AAV) Autoantibodies to human lysosomal membrane protein-2 (hLAMP-2) and other glyocoproteins in AAV Autoimmunity to membrane proteins in the pathogenesis of FNGN and AAV The role of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers in AAV The role of autophagy in antigen presentation and autoimmunity

Research interests

The central theme of my research is to elucidate pathogenic disease mechanisms by combining the insights derived from morphological examination of injured tissues with advanced molecular techniques. The ultimate goal is to clarify mechanisms of autoimmunity and develop more effective therapies using ANCA associated vasculitis (AAV) as a model. Our laboratory made the original discovery of autoantibodies to human lysosomal membrane protein-2 (hLAMP-2) in patients with AAV and further detailed characterisation showed they are highly prevalent and correlate with disease activity. Crossreactivity of human anti-LAMP-2 antibodies with antibodies to FimH and experimental data provided evidence for FimH triggered autoimmunity to LAMP-2 as novel pathogenetic mechanism in AAV. Follow up studies confirmed the presence of anti-LAMP-2 autoantibodies also in ANCA negative patients and detailed characterisation revealed direct binding of the autoantiantibodies to glomerular endothelium. This highlighted the necessity of a better understanding about their interactions with cells and has become a critical part of our research program on the effects of anti-LAMP-2 antibodies on LAMP-2's normal function.

The clinical aspects of autoimmunity to LAMP-2 are currently followed up in international collaborations that will determine whether anti-hLAMP-2 autoantibodies can be used as a biomarker that faithfully predicts disease activity.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

We use tissue samples from human and rodent models complemented by information gained from serum, plasma, DNA and clinical data. Our techniques extend from classical histology to immunomorphological methods in light and electron microscopy and include application of immunological methods, culture of primary cells and cell lines, analysis of DNA and RNA from cells, human and animal tissues, classical and advanced cloning techniques to generate techniques with the intent of generating transformed cell lines and transgenic models as tools necessary in our research programme.


Selected publications

  1. Oszwald, A. et al. (2022) ‘Digital Spatial Profiling of Glomerular Gene Expression in Pauci-Immune Focal Necrotizing Glomerulonephritis’, Kidney360, 4(1), pp. 83–91. Available at:
  2. Fayçal, C.A. et al. (2022) ‘An adapted passive model of anti-MPO dependent crescentic glomerulonephritis reveals matrix dysregulation and is amenable to modulation by CXCR4 inhibition’, Matrix Biology, 106, pp. 12–33. Available at:
  3. Hubert, V. et al. (2022) ‘Modulating Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy and Its Clinical Applications in Cancer’, Cells, 11(16), p. 2562. Available at:
  4. Małys, M.S. et al. (2021) ‘Isolation of Small Extracellular Vesicles from Human Sera’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(9), p. 4653. Available at:
  5. Kitching, A.R. et al. (2020) ‘ANCA-associated vasculitis’, Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 6(1). Available at: