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Low-dose local kidney irradiation inhibits progression of experimental crescentic nephritis by promoting apoptosis.

Liu D., Nazneen A., Taguchi T., Razzaque M.S.

BACKGROUND: Crescentic glomerulonephritis is a rapidly progressive form of nephritis and is usually resistant to therapeutic intervention. Apoptosis plays a role in the resolution of glomerulonephritis. We investigated the effects of local kidney irradiation on the progression of experimental crescentic glomerulonephritis. METHODS: The following three experimental rat groups were generated: (1) Group I, sham-operated control (n = 12); (2) Group II, rats injected intravenously with rabbit anti-rat GBM antibody (nephrotoxic serum, NTS) (n = 23), and (3) Group III, a single low-dose irradiation of 0.5 Gy X-ray to both kidneys at days 6, 13, 20, and 27 after NTS injection (n = 55). Renal function and blood leukocyte count were examined in different groups of rats at various time points. Kidneys obtained at various time points were analyzed to determine the effects of radiation in experimental nephritis. RESULTS: Radiation of the kidneys reduced the levels of blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine compared with Group II nephritic rats of similar age (p < 0.05 or 0.001). No apparent changes in blood leukocyte counts were noted in various experimental groups. Glomerular hypercellularity, crescents, global sclerosis and tubulointerstitial damage developed gradually in Group II rats, but were decreased (p < 0.05 or 0.001) after radiation treatment. The extent of tubulointerstitial damage was also reduced, and radiation-associated histological improvements were accompanied by reduced infiltration of macrophages in the glomeruli and interstitium. The numbers of PCNA- and ED1-positive cells were reduced in the kidneys at 1 day post-irradiation, of rats irradiated at 6 and 13 days after NTS injection, compared with Group II at similar time intervals (p < 0.05). A larger numbers of TUNEL-positive cells were noted at 1 day post-irradiation in rats irradiated at 6 and 13 days after NTS injection, compared with Group II at similar time intervals (p < 0.05). Immunostaining for macrophages ED1 and TUNEL staining of serial sections of irradiated nephritic kidneys showed few ED1-positive macrophages stained for TUNEL. Overexpression of active caspases 3 and 7 was noted in irradiated kidneys, compared with the corresponding Group II rats at similar time intervals. Western blot analysis showed marked increase in active caspase 3 and active caspase 7 expression in irradiated kidneys compared with NTS injection only. A marked increase in the expression of p53 protein, which is closely related to radiation-induced apoptosis, was also observed in irradiated kidneys compared with NTS injection only. CONCLUSION: Our study showed that renal radiation can alter acute glomerular inflammation by inducing apoptosis of intrinsic and infiltrating cells in the kidney in a rat model of crescentic glomerulonephritis. Low-dose kidney irradiation can inhibit the progression of experimental nephritis through inducing apoptosis.

Am. J. Nephrol. 28:555-568(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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