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Am J Pathol. 1995 Dec;147(6):1715-27.

Participation of glomerular endothelial cells in the capillary repair of glomerulonephritis.

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Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


In many glomerular diseases severe injury to the mesangium may occur, leading to matrix dissolution and damage to the glomerular capillaries. Although the destruction of glomerular architecture may lead to permanent injury, in some cases spontaneous recovery occurs. The mechanisms that mediate this recovery are unknown. In this study we provide evidence for glomerular capillary repair (angiogenesis) in the adult injured glomerulus. Injection of anti-Thy 1 antibody into rats results in severe mesangiolysis with capillary ballooning, microaneurysm formation, and loss of endothelial cells in addition to mesangial cells. Although mesangial proliferation is a major response to injury, proliferation of endothelial cells also can be documented from days 2 to 14 in association with repair of the capillaries. The endothelial cell proliferation peaks on days 2 and 7, when it is seven- to ninefold greater than normal. Many of the endothelial cells display morphological features of angiogenesis. The initial wave of endothelial cell proliferation can be reduced by 40% with neutralizing anti-basic fibroblast growth factor antibodies (P < 0.001). The later glomerular endothelial cell proliferation is associated with upregulated expression of vascular permeability factor/endothelial cell growth factor (VPF/VEGF) and an increase of flk, a VPF/VEGF receptor. Although PDGF is expressed in this model, anti-PDGF antibody treatment did not affect the endothelial cell proliferative response. In summary, glomerular endothelial cells have an active role in the glomerular response to injury. Glomeruli are capable of healing microaneurysms, and the mechanism involves basic fibroblast growth factor- and VPF/VEGF-mediated endothelial proliferative responses.

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