Local macrophage proliferation correlates with increased renal M-CSF expression in human glomerulonephritis

Nicole M. Isbel, David J. Nikolic-Paterson, Prudence A. Hill, John Dowling, Robert C. Atkins

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Background. Macrophage accumulation is a prominent feature in many forms of glomerulonephritis. Local proliferation of macrophages within the kidney has been described in human and experimental glomerulonephritis and may have an important role in augmenting the inflammatory response. The current study examined the relationship between local macrophage proliferation and renal expression of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF). Methods. A total of 118 renal biopsies of patients with a wide range of glomerulonephridities were examined for M-CSF protein and macrophage proliferation (KP1 + PCNA + cells) by single and double immunohistochemistry staining, respectively. Results. Biopsies of thin membrane disease (TMD) with histologically normal kidney showed M-CSF protein expression by 33% of cortical tubules, while glomerular M-CSF expression was limited to resident macrophages and some podocytes. Glomerular M-CSF expression increased significantly in proliferative forms of glomerulonephritis, with M-CSF staining of infiltrating macrophages, podocytes and some mesangial cells. Segmental areas of strong M-CSF expression, particularly in crescents, co-localized with KP1 + PCNA + proliferating macrophages. There was also an increase in tubular M-CSF expression in most types of glomerulonephritis. Tubular M-CSF staining was strongest in areas of tubular damage and co-localized with KP1 + macrophages, including KP1 + PCNA + proliferating macrophages. Many interstitial macrophages and α-smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts showed strong M-CSF staining. Statistical analysis showed a highly significant correlation between M-CSF expression and local macrophage proliferation in both the glomerulus and tubulointerstitium. Glomerular and tubular M-CSF expression gave a significant correlation with renal dysfunction. Conclusions. Glomerular and tubulointerstitial M-CSF expression is up-regulated in human glomerulonephritis, being most prominent in proliferative forms of disease. This correlated with local macrophage proliferation, suggesting that increased renal M-CSF production plays an important role in regulating local macrophage proliferation in human glomerulonephritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1647
Number of pages10
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Glomerulonephritis, immunohistochemistry
  • Macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • Macrophage, proliferation, human

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