Deoxyspergualin inhibits mesangial cell proliferation and major histocompatibility complex class II expression

D. J. Nikolic-Paterson, G. H. Tesch, H. Y. Lan, R. Foti, R. C. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


It has previously been shown that the immunosuppressive drug deoxyspergualin can inhibit renal injury in experimental glomerulonephritis. This study examined whether deoxyspergualin can modulate the mesangial cell response to glomerular injury. Antiglomerular basement membrane glomerulonephritis was induced in primed rats. Groups of five animals were treated with deoxyspergualin (5 mg/kg per day) or saline from Day 0 until being euthanized on Day 1, 7, 14, or 21. Deoxyspergualin treatment significantly inhibited mesangial cell proliferation (proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression) over the disease course as assessed by double immunohistochemistry staining (P < 0.001 versus saline treated) and reduced glomerular major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression. To demonstrate if this was a direct action of deoxyspergualin, an in vitro system was studied. The addition of deoxyspergualin caused a time- and dose-dependent inhibition of (3H)thymidine uptake by cultured rat mesangial cells. Of particular interest was the finding that deoxyspergualin inhibited the de novo cell surface expression of MHC class II antigens after interferon-gamma stimulation. However, deoxyspergualin did not prevent the cytoplasmic accumulation of MHC class II molecules, indicating that the drug interfered with a posttranslational event in MHC class II processing and/or assembly. Deoxyspergualin was not a general inhibitor of mesangial cells, and it had no effect on constitutive or lipopolysaccharide-induced transforming growth factor β1 expression. In conclusion, deoxyspergualin has been shown to inhibit the mesangial cell response to glomerular injury. This novel mode of action may provide an additional therapeutic benefit in the treatment of proliferative forms of glomerulonephritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1895-1902
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • cytokine gene expression
  • immunosuppression
  • major histocompatibility complex class II expression
  • mesangial proliferation
  • proliferating cell nuclear antigen

Cite this