Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is a frequent, chronic renal disease characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical presentations and pathologic findings. CD44, a family of type I transmembrane glycoproteins involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, may orchestrate partially the cascade of inflammation, accumulation of myofibroblasts, and fibrosis leading to end-stage renal disease. To clarify the possible role of CD44 in the progression of IgA nephropathy, the expression of CD44 in glomeruli and the tubulointerstitial compartment was analyzed in 25 renal biopsy specimens of patients with IgA nephropathy and was correlated to histopathologic, serologic, and urinary parameters. The expression of CD44 correlated significantly with the degree of glomerular and interstitial damage, even better than the accumulation of alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts, which is recognized as a reliable marker for the progression of IgA nephropathy. A positive correlation also was found between proteinuria and the expression of CD44 in the tubulointerstitial compartment. The glomerular and tubulointerstitial expression of CD44 correlated with the degree of renal damage in IgA nephropathy and could be a reliable marker of the progression of IgA nephropathy. CD44 may have a pivotal role in the cascade of renal inflammation and fibrosis.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.