Chemokines and chemokine receptors are involved in the resolution or progression of renal disease

Kidney Int. 2003 Feb;63(2):401-15. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.2003.00750.x.


Locally secreted chemokines mediate leukocyte recruitment during the initiation and amplification phase of renal inflammation. In turn, the infiltrating leukocytes contribute to renal damage by releasing inflammatory and profibrotic factors. Rapid down modulation of the chemokine signal will support resolution of acute inflammation, whereas progression occurs if ongoing or repeated renal injury maintains continuous local chemokine secretion and leukocyte influx into the glomerulus or the interstitial space. In glomerular injury proteinuria itself as well as glomerular secreted cytokines stimulate downstream tubular epithelial cells to also secrete chemokines. During primary tubular injury, tubular epithelial cells directly become a major site of chemokine production. This in turn supports leukocyte infiltration and activation. Infiltrating leukocytes stimulate fibroblast proliferation and matrix synthesis, leading to widening of the interstitial space. The specific and intricate renal vascular architecture renders the organ susceptible to ischemic damage as interstitial volume increases. Ischemia in turn serves as a stimulus for chemokine and cytokine production and matrix synthesis. The mutual stimulation between fibroblasts and infiltrating leukocytes supports progressive tubular damage, renal fibrosis, and glomerulosclerosis. Potentially this vicious circle leading to progression of chronic nephropathies offers the opportunity for therapeutic intervention. Interfering with the chemokine network that mediates leukocyte recruitment may represent a promising therapeutic option for progressive renal disorders and renal fibrosis. This article summarizes the present data on the role of chemokines in acute and chronic renal disease with special emphasis on their potential role in mediating resolution or progression of renal disease as well as on therapeutic options.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Graft Rejection / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine