Intrinsic renal cells are the major source of interleukin-1β synthesis in normal and diseased rat kidney

G. H. Tesch, N. Yang, H. Yu, H. Y. Lan, R. Foti, S. J. Chadban, R. C. Atkins, D. J. Nikolic-Paterson

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Background. A number of studies have demonstrated a pathological role for interleukin-1 (IL-1) in experimental models of glomerulonephritis, but the cellular pattern of renal IL-1 production remains poorly characterized. The aim of this study, therefore, was to identify the cell types expressing IL-1 in normal and diseased rat kidney. Methods. Renal IL-1β expression was examined in normal rats and during a 21-day time course of rat accelerated anti-GBM glomerulonephritis by northern blotting, in situ hybridization and double immunohistochemistry. Results. Interleukin-1β mRNA expression was readily detectable in normal rat kidney by northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization. Immunohistochemistry staining demonstrated constitutive IL-1β expression by glomerular endothelial cells and cortical tubular epithelial cells. There was a marked increase in whole kidney IL-1β mRNA in rat anti-GBM glomerulonephritis. Glomerular IL-1β immunostaining was upregulated, being expressed by podocytes, mesangial cells and infiltrating macrophages, and was particularly prominent within glomerular crescents. Double staining with the ED1 antibody showed IL-1β expression in up to 13% of glomerular macrophages, whereas 48% of macrophages within crescents stained for IL-1β. However, the most marked increase in IL-1β expression was seen in cortical tubular epithelial cells, particularly in areas of tubular damage. In situ hybridization confirmed that tubular IL-1β staining was due to local cytokine synthesis rather than protein absorption. Conclusions. This study has identified constitutive IL-1β expression by glomerular endothelium and tubular epithelial cells in normal rat kidney. In addition, the marked upregulation of IL-1β expression by intrinsic glomerular cells and tubules in rat anti-GBM disease suggests an important role for these cells in IL-1 dependent crescent formation and tubulointerstitial injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1115
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1997


  • Crescent formation
  • Endothelium
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Interleukin-1β
  • Macrophages
  • Tubules

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