Background: In human renal allografts, recipient-derived cells engrafted in various kidney substructures, have been detected in the long term after transplantation. Here we investigated tubular engraftment and myofibroblast differentiation of recipient-derived cells at short term after experimental kidney transplantation, during a previously described window of regeneration and possible onset of renal interstitial fibrosis.
Methods: Fisher (F344, syngeneic) and Dark Agouti (DA, allogeneic) kidneys were transplanted into F344-hPAP transgenic recipient rats, which allowed tracing of recipient-derived cells in nontransgenic donor kidneys. We evaluated tubular engraftment and myofibroblast differentiation of recipient-derived cells on day 14 after kidney transplantation.
Results: Kidney transplantation resulted in tubular engraftment of recipient-derived cells. After allogeneic kidney transplantation, 9.7% of tubular cross-sections contained at least one recipient-derived cell, which represented a significant increase in comparison to syngeneic transplantation (4.0%, P<0.05). Moreover, recipient-derived myofibroblasts were present in the renal interstitium of the transplanted kidney. These cells contributed 39% of the total interstitial myofibroblast population in allografts, which was comparable to the syngeneic situation (28%, P=0.25).
Conclusions: In a defined early window of regeneration and possible onset of renal interstitial fibrosis after kidney transplantation, rejection-associated injury, superimposed on ischemic damage, increases tubular engraftment of recipient-derived cells, although it does not affect their relative contribution to the renal interstitial myofibroblast population.