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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Jul;19(7):1371-8. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2007050552. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Autonomic renal denervation ameliorates experimental glomerulonephritis.

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Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.


Increasing evidence indicates that inflammation of visceral organs is significantly affected by the autonomic nervous system. Such neuroimmune interactions have not been studied in the kidney. Here, we show that the rat kidney is innervated by both tyrosine hydroxylase-positive sympathetic efferent nerve fibers and calcitonin gene-related peptide-positive primary afferent nerve fibers, both of which are found in proximity to macrophages and dendritic cells. Complete surgical bilateral renal denervation was performed 2 d before glomerulonephritis was induced by injecting the monoclonal anti-Thy-1.1 antibody OX-7. Denervation significantly reduced albuminuria, mesangiolysis, formation of microaneurysms, deposition of glomerular collagen IV, and expression of TGF-beta compared with sham-operated controls. Accordingly, inflammation, identified by accumulation of interstitial macrophages and renal expression of TNF-alpha, and mesangial cell proliferation were significantly reduced. These findings indicate that autonomic renal denervation ameliorates and, by inference, innervation exacerbates acute inflammation in the kidney; therefore, neurotransmitters or neuropeptides and their receptors might represent novel targets for the treatment of acute glomerulonephritis.

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