Journal Article

Morphometry of interstitial fibrosis

Emile De Heer, Yvo W. J. Sijpkens, Martijn Verkade, Marcel den Dulk, Alexandra Langers, Jan Schutrups, Jan Anthonie Bruijn and Leendert A. van Es

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 15, issue suppl_6, pages 72-73
Published in print December 2000 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online December 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/15.suppl_6.72
Morphometry of interstitial fibrosis

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Several clinical studies have confirmed that histomorphometric changes in the tubulointerstitial compartment contain the best correlating parameters to predict the development of progressive renal insufficiency. The process of interstitial fibrosis is accompanied by an influx of inflammatory cells, up‐regulation of fibrogenic cytokines such as transforming growth factor‐β and basic fibroblast growth factor, transient down‐modulation of their antagonists, generation and proliferation of myofibroblasts, and finally, by accumulation of interstitial collagens and proteoglycans. A careful morphometric analysis of interstitial fibrosis requires sensitive parameters through which the severity can be quantified and by which the progression into renal insufficiency can be predicted. We have addressed these issues by morphometric analysis of both human biopsies and by refining existing experimental models in the rat. Morphometric analysis was performed using a Zeiss microscope equipped with a full colour 3CCD camera and KS‐400 image analysis software from Zeiss‐Kontron. For studies with human material, biopsies were examined from patients with various renal diseases including patients with chronic allotransplant dysfunction. The development of interstitial fibrosis was correlated with clinical parameters. In experimental models, we analysed the interstitial composition and eventual glomerular alterations in rats with bovine serum albumin (BSA)‐induced protein overload nephropathy and with human IgG‐induced chronic serum sickness nephritics. Finally, we adapted and refined the model of ureter obstruction‐induced interstitial fibrosis in the rat. For this purpose, custom‐made titanium clips (S&T, Neuhaus, Switzerland) were implanted around the ureter in the abdomen of rats to obstruct the ureter without causing necrosis. The clips were removed at various time points after obstruction of the ureter (1–14 days). The subsequent remodelling of the interstitium was studied thereafter, in order to establish whether uraemia‐induced interstitial fibrosis remains reversible at all times. In rat models, we have found that both protein overload‐induced and serum sickness‐induced interstitial fibrosis are accompanied by the development of focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis. Only in the ureter obstruction model did selective interstitial fibrosis develop, and remained reversible at all times studied. For the reliable assessment of interstitial fibrosis we have found that the best correlating parameters of interstitial fibrosis with renal function were: (i) the ratio of protein accumulation of TGF‐β‐1 and its antagonist decorin; (ii) interstitial expression of smooth muscle α‐actin; and (iii) accumulation of interstitial collagens (as determined by immunoperoxidase and by Sirius red staining).

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Subjects: Nephrology

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