Background: To investigate cellular mechanisms responsible for the development of crescentic glomerular lesions, we have studied the effects of complete adjuvant (CA) on subnephritogenic nephrotoxic serum (NTS) nephritis (NTS-N) in Brown Norway rats.
Methods: A subnephritogenic dose of NTS, 0.02 ml per rat, was intravenously injected into rats that were previously (14 days earlier) treated intradermally with CA, incomplete adjuvant, or PBS.
Results: Proteinuria developed by day 2 only in CA-treated rats. Also, severe glomerular lesions associated with cellular crescent formation developed by day 2 only in the CA-treated rats. The glomerular extent of infiltration of IL-1beta-positive cells, MCP-1 expression level, and the number of ED1 and PCNA double-positive activated macrophages peaked on day 4 and decreased thereafter. The numbers of T lymphocytes and polymorphonuclear neutrophils did not significantly increase throughout the experiments.
Conclusions: These results indicate that CA can potently induce crescentic NTS-N characterized by the infiltration of activated macrophages, which presumably bind to rabbit IgG on the glomerular basement membrane and may play a critical role in the development of severe NTS-N associated with crescent formation.