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Kidney Int. 2001 Feb;59(2):565-78.

Nephritogenic cytokines and disease in MRL-Fas(lpr) kidneys are dependent on multiple T-cell subsets.

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Laboratory of Molecular Autoimmune Disease, Renal Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Renal parenchymal cells produce cytokines, colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), which recruit autoreactive T cells and, in turn, elicit renal injury in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice.


To determine whether select T-cell populations regulate intrarenal nephritogenic cytokines (CSF-1, GM-CSF, and TNF-alpha) and renal disease, we compared MRL-Fas(lpr) mice that are genetically deficient in T-cell receptor (TCR) alpha beta T cells, CD4 T cells, and major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC class I), lacking CD8 and double negative (DN) T cells, with wild-type mice. To identify the T cells instrumental in downstream (effector) events, we delivered CSF-1 or GM-CSF into the kidney via gene transfer in these select T-cell-deficient and wild-type strains.


Intrarenal CSF-1, GM-CSF, and TNF-alpha were absent or dramatically reduced in TCR alpha beta, CD4, and class I-deficient MRL-Fas(lpr) strains as compared with wild-type mice. In addition, the decrease in CSF-1, GM-CSF, and TNF-alpha was associated with a reduced kidney leukocytic infiltrates and spontaneous autoimmune nephritis. Intrarenal ex vivo retroviral gene transfer of CSF-1 and GM-CSF failed to elicit nephritis in these T-cell-deficient MRL strains (TCR alpha beta, CD4, CD8/DN) as compared with wild-type mice.


Multiple T-cell populations initiate renal disease by increasing intrarenal nephritogenic cytokines, CSF-1, GM-CSF, and TNF-alpha. CSF-1 and GM-CSF recruit additional CD4 and CD8 and DN T cells, which augment downstream events, resulting in progressive autoimmune renal disease. We suggest that MRL-Fas(lpr) kidney disease is driven by a T-cell amplification feedback loop dependent on multiple T-cell populations.

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