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Kidney Int. 2004 Oct;66(4):1444-52.

Blockade of the CD154-CD40 costimulatory pathway prevents the development of experimental autoimmune glomerulonephritis.

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Renal Section, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom.



Experimental autoimmune glomerulonephritis (EAG) was induced in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats by immunization with rat glomerular basement membrane (GBM) in adjuvant. This model is characterized by anti-GBM antibody production, accompanied by focal necrotizing glomerulonephritis with crescent formation. There is also glomerular infiltration by T cells and macrophages. Our hypothesis was that blocking the interaction between CD154 (CD40L) on Th cells and CD40 on antigen-presenting cells should inhibit T-cell activation, and thus the development of EAG.


The in vivo effects of a hamster anti-rat monoclonal antibody to CD154 (AH.F5) were examined in EAG starting at day -1 prior to immunization, day +7 after immunization, or day +14 after immunization.


When administered from day -1 at a dose of 10 mg/kg intraperitoneally three times per week for the duration of the study (4 weeks), AH.F5 resulted in a marked reduction in circulating anti-alpha3(IV)NC1 antibodies, deposits of IgG on the GBM, albuminuria, deposits of fibrin in the glomeruli, severity of glomerular abnormalities, and numbers of glomerular T cells and macrophages. When administered from day +7 at the same dose, AH.F5 resulted in a moderate reduction in the severity of disease, while administration from day +14 had no significant effect.


These studies demonstrate for the first time that early blockade of the CD154-CD40 T-cell costimulatory pathway can prevent the development of crescentic nephritis, and that delayed treatment can reduce the severity of disease. This confirms the importance of T cell mediated immunity in the pathogenesis of EAG, and suggests that strategies targeting T-cell costimulation may provide a novel approach in the treatment of human glomerulonephritis.

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