Crescentic glomerulonephritis--a manifestation of a nephritogenic Th1 response?

Histol Histopathol. 2000 Jul;15(3):993-1003. doi: 10.14670/HH-15.993.


Crescentic glomerulonephritis (GN) is the histopathological correlate of the clinical syndrome of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Glomerular crescent formation complicates proliferative forms of GN and indicates severe disease with a poor renal prognosis. In the past 10 years evidence from experimental models of GN and from human disease has accumulated suggesting that crescentic glomerulonephritis is a manifestation of a delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH)-like response to nephritogenic antigens. The elucidation of T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 subsets in mice and in humans has led to the hypothesis that crescentic GN is a manifestation of a Th1 predominant DTH mediated immune response. Recent experiments performed mainly in a murine model of crescentic glomerulonephritis have tested this hypothesis. Crescent formation in this model is substantially interleukin (IL)-12 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) dependent. Administration of IL-12, deletion of endogenous IL-4 or IL-10 results in enhanced disease, while administration of exogenous IL-4 and/or IL-10 reduces crescentic injury. These findings, together with the available evidence from human studies (examining the pattern of immune effectors in glomeruli, data on cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells and case reports of the induction of proliferative and/or crescentic GN by administration of IFN-gamma or IL-2) suggest that human crescentic GN is manifestation of a Th1 mediated DTH-like nephritogenic immune response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Glomerulonephritis / classification
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / immunology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology