Effect of anti-transforming growth factor-beta antibodies in cyclosporine-induced renal dysfunction

Kidney Int. 2001 Feb;59(2):498-506. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2001.059002498.x.


Background: Several experimental and clinical studies have implicated a role for transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) in mediating the nephrotoxic effects of cyclosporine (CsA). To test this hypothesis, we administered neutralizing anti-TGF-beta antibodies (alpha-TGF-beta) in a well-described rat model of chronic CsA nephrotoxicity.

Methods: We studied three groups (N = 9 per group) of adult, male Sprague-Dawley rats that received a low-salt diet (0.05% sodium). Normal controls were given vehicle subcutaneously and an alternate-day intraperitoneal injection of 3 mg of nonspecific mouse IgG (MIgG) for 28 days. The CsA group received 15 mg/kg/day of CsA subcutaneously and 3 mg of MIgG intraperitoneally on alternate days for 28 days. The CsA/alpha-TGF-beta group received CsA and alternate-day alpha-TGF-beta (3 mg) for 28 days. At the end of 28 days, creatinine clearance was measured by 24-hour urine collection. Histologic assessment was performed for tubulointerstitial damage and arteriolar hyalinosis. Northern analysis was performed for alpha 1(I) collagen and TGF-beta 1 gene expression, and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was performed to measure levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), TIMP-2, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and MMP-9.

Results: CsA-treated rats had significantly lower creatinine clearance as compared with normal controls (0.43 +/- 0.07 vs. 0.67 +/- 0.14 mL/min, P = 0.0002), increased interstitial damage and afferent arteriolar hyalinosis (P = 0.0001), and increased alpha1(I) collagen (4-fold) and TGF-beta 1 (2.5-fold) mRNA expression. CsA-treated rats also had significantly increased TIMP-1 (7.4-fold, P < 0.001), MMP-2, and PAI-1 (all approximately 2-fold, P < 0.02) and decreased MMP-9 (85% reduction, P < 0.001) as compared with controls. Treatment with alpha-TGF-beta in CsA-treated rats significantly prevented the reduction in creatinine clearance (0.58 +/- 0.03 mL/min, P = 0.009 vs. CsA alone), the increase in afferent arteriolar hyalinosis (P < 0.05 vs. CsA alone), normalized alpha 1(I) collagen mRNA levels, and attenuated CsA effects on TGF-beta1, TIMP-1, and MMP-9.

Conclusions: In this rat model of CsA-induced nephrotoxicity, renal insufficiency and characteristic histologic changes are associated with altered expression of matrix and matrix-regulating molecules. Based on our results with alpha-TGF-beta antibodies, many but not all of these nephrotoxic effects of CsA are mediated by TGF-beta.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology*
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cyclosporine*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology*


  • Antibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Cyclosporine
  • Metalloendopeptidases