Background: We previously described that monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) plays an important role in progressive glomerular and interstitial damage in inflammatory renal diseases. However, the expression of MCP-1 in diabetic nephropathy remains to be investigated.
Methods: We examined whether locally expressed MCP-1 participates in human diabetic nephropathy via recruiting and activating monocytes/macrophages (Mphi). Urinary and serum MCP-1 levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 45 patients with diabetic nephropathy. The presence of MCP-1 in diseased kidneys was determined by immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analyses.
Results: Urinary MCP-1 levels were significantly elevated in patients with diabetic nephrotic syndrome and advanced tubulointerstitial lesions. Moreover, urinary levels of MCP-1 were well correlated with the number of CD68-positive infiltrating cells in the interstitium. In contrast, serum MCP-1 levels remained similar to those of healthy volunteers. Furthermore, we detected the MCP-1-positive cells in the interstitium of diabetic nephropathy via both immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analyses.
Conclusion: These observations suggest that locally produced MCP-1 may be involved in the development of advanced diabetic nephropathy, especially in the formation of tubulointerstitial lesions possibly through Mphi recruitment and activation. Moreover, up-regulation of MCP-1 may be a common pathway involved in the progressive tubulointerstitial damage in diabetic nephropathy as well as inflammatory renal diseases.