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Kidney Int. 2002 Jul;62(1):78-85.

Effects of cyclosporine in osteopontin null mice.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



Osteopontin (OPN) is a macrophage adhesive and cell survival factor that is up-regulated in tubules in tubulointerstitial disease. We have previously reported that rats with cyclosporine (CsA) nephropathy have increased tubular osteopontin that correlates with the infiltration of macrophages and interstitial fibrosis. This study tested the hypothesis that the absence of OPN would ameliorate CsA nephropathy.


OPN knockout (-/-) and wild type (+/+) mice were fed a low salt diet (Na+ 0.01%) for one week and then received daily CsA injections (30 mg/kg, SC) until sacrifice at two weeks. Afferent arteriolopathy, tubulointerstitial injury, macrophage infiltration, collagen III deposition, transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) expression, and tubular and interstitial cell proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated.


Wild type mice developed early features of CsA nephropathy, with arteriolar hyalinosis and cortical and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Despite comparable CsA levels, OPN-/- mice had less arteriolopathy (15 vs. 24%, P < 0.05), a 20% reduction in cortical macrophage infiltration (P < 0.05), and 20% reduction in interstitial collagen deposition (P < 0.05). OPN-/- mice also showed less cortical interstitial cell proliferation but no differences in tubular cell proliferation or apoptosis. OPN+/+ mice also developed some neurotoxicity, consisting of ataxia, and this was associated with increased mortality at two weeks.


OPN partially mediates arteriolopathy, early macrophage recruitment and fibrosis in murine CsA nephropathy. OPN also may be involved in CsA associated neurotoxicity.

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