Background: Renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis is the final common stage of renal failure. CD4+ T lymphocyte recruitment and activation after injury could be the very important early event that mediates the onset of renal fibrogenesis. But the role of CD4+ T lymphocytes in renal fibrosis is controversial and its cellular mechanism needs to be further investigated.
Methods: Biopsy specimens were from patients with minimal-change or IgA nephropathy. Mouse renal fibrosis was induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). CD4+ T lymphocytes of wild BALB/c mice were depleted with anti-CD4 antibody. BALB/c Nu/Nu mice were reconstituted with polarized Th1 or Th2 cells by tail vein injection.
Results: Our study demonstrated that massive CD4+ T lymphocytes infiltrated fibrotic kidneys of patients. The depletion of CD4+ T lymphocytes inhibited UUO-induced mouse renal fibrosis. In the process of UUO-induced renal fibrosis, the ratios of Th2/Th1 increased with time. Results have also shown that Th2-reconstituted mice developed renal fibrosis more easily than Th1-reconstituted mice, which manifested by interstitial expansion and collagen deposition, higher expression of α-SMA and vimentin and increased expression of fibronectin, TGF-β and collagen I. We also found that CD4+ T cells from Th1-reconstitued mice tended to secrete IL-4 and IL-13 Th2-like cytokines.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our study demonstrated the importance of CD4+ T lymphocytes in renal fibrosis and gave the first direct evidence that Th2 cells play a pivotal role in UUO-induced renal fibrosis. Inhibition of CD4+ T lymphocyte differentiation to Th2 would be a potential therapeutic intervention to prevent renal fibrosis.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.