Cells surrounding haemodialysis-associated amyloid deposits are mainly macrophages

A. Argilés, M. Garcia, J. G. Demaille, G. Mourad, B. Collins, P. G. Kerr, G. Mourad

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Dialysis-related amyloidosis is a type of amyloidosis which has β 2 -microglobulin as the major protein constituent and occurs predominantly in haemodialysis patients. Its prevalence is very high with increasing time on dialysis treatment and its pathogenesis is not completely understood. While remarkable progress has been made in the identification of the components of the deposits, there are no reports characterizing the cells surrounding the amyloid fibrils. To characterize the cellular composition of the amyloid material, specimens from seven patients treated by maintenance haemodialysis were studied with immunoperoxidase labelling using monoclonal antibodies to leukocytes (CD3, CD14, CD68, CD4, CD8, CD45). The results were very reproducible for the seven deposits assessed: Of the 182 ± 26 leukocytes/0.2 mm 2 of amyloid tissue expressing the 71.5–CD45 marker (common leukocyte), 91± 6 % were CD68 (KP1) positive (monocyte macrophage). No CD3-positive cells (T-cell marker) were found in six of the seven patients, with only 1.6% in the remaining one. The present study shows that although amyloidosis has classically been considered as an acellular pathology, clearly there are cells surrounding amyloid fibrils. Strikingly, these cells are almost exclusively macrophages; there are no lymphocytes or granulocytes. The putative role of macrophages in the pathogenesis of β 2 -microglobulin amyloidosis remains to be established. However, the identification and quantitation of the cells surrounding the amyloid deposits may be important for infsequent studies to elucidate amyloid pathogenesis and particularly protein–cell interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994


  • Amyloid deposits
  • Dialysis related amyloidosis
  • Haemodialysis
  • Macrophages

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