Sequential expression of cellular fibronectin by platelets, macrophages, and mesangial cells in proliferative glomerulonephritis

Am J Pathol. 1994 Sep;145(3):585-97.


Fibronectin (Fn) regulates cell migration, proliferation, and extracellular matrix formation during embryogenesis, angiogenesis, and wound healing. Fn also promotes mesangial cell migration and proliferation in vitro and contributes to extracellular matrix formation and tissue remodeling during glomerular disease. In this study, we examined, by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization, the temporal glomerular localization and cellular sources of Fn in Habu snake venom (HSV)-induced proliferative glomerulonephritis. Early HSV-induced glomerular lesions consisted of microaneurysms devoid of resident glomerular cells and filled with platelets, leukocytes, and erythrocytes. Over the course of the disease, mesangial cells migrated into the lesions, proliferated, and formed a confluent cellular mass. Fn was present in lesions beginning at 8 hours, with highest intensity at 72 hours and diminishing at 2 weeks after HSV. Staining for Fn at 8 and 24 hours after HSV was attributed to platelets and macrophages. In situ hybridization and phenotypic identification of cell types within lesions revealed macrophages as the predominant source of cellular Fn mRNA at these times. At 48 hours after HSV, Fn mRNA was expressed in proliferating mesangial cells in addition to macrophages. Most cells in lesions at 72 hours after HSV were mesangial, at a time when expression of Fn mRNA peaked. Cellular expression for Fn mRNA and translated protein declined at 2 weeks after HSV. These studies support the hypothesis that Fn, derived from platelets and macrophages, provides a provisional matrix involved with mesangial cell migration into glomerular lesions. Fn produced by mesangial cells might contribute to the formation of a stable extracellular matrix.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Glomerular Mesangium / metabolism*
  • Glomerular Mesangium / pathology
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / etiology
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / metabolism*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative / pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Time Factors


  • Fibronectins
  • RNA, Messenger