Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted acidic glycoprotein that has potent monocyte chemoattractant and adhesive properties. Up-regulation of tubular OPN expression is thought to promote interstitial macrophage infiltration in experimental nephritis; however, the role of OPN in glomerular lesions, particularly crescent formation, is unknown. The present study used Northern blotting, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry to examine OPN expression in a rat model of accelerated anti-GBM glomerulonephritis. Osteopontin mRNA and protein is expressed by some parietal epithelial cells, thick ascending limbs of Henle and medullary tubules and collecting ducts in normal rat kidney. De novo OPN mRNA and protein expression was evident in glomerular visceral and parietal epithelial cells in anti-GBM glomerulonephritis. Glomerular OPN expression preceded and correlated with macrophage infiltration in the development of hypercellularity, focal and segmental lesions and, notably, crescent formation. There was marked up- regulation of OPN expression by tubular epithelial cells that also preceded and correlated with interstitial macrophage (r = 0.93, P < 0.001) and T-cell infiltration (r = 0.85, P < 0.001). Both glomerular and tubular OPN expression correlated significantly with proteinuria (P < 0.001) and a reduction in creatinine clearance (P < 0.01). In addition, double immunohistochemistry showed co-expression of osteopontin and one of its ligands, CD44, in intrinsic renal cells. CD44 and OPN expression by parietal epithelial cells was evident in crescent formation, while virtually all OPN- positive tubules expressed CD44. Infiltrating macrophages and T-cells were CD44-positive, but only a small proportion of T-cells and few macrophages showed OPN expression. Interestingly, strong OPN mRNA and protein expression was seen in macrophage multinucleated giant cells. In summary, this study suggests that OPN promotes macrophage and T-cell infiltration in the development of renal lesions in rat anti-GBM glomerulonephritis, including glomerular crescent and multinucleated giant cell formation.
- Anti-GBM glomerulonephritis
- Crescentic glomerulonephritis