Background: Chronic obstructive uropathy induced by maintained unilateral ureter ligation in the rat is characterized morphologically by interstitial inflammation, interstitial fibrosis, and tubular atrophy. Infiltrating mononuclear inflammatory cells, particularly T lymphocytes and macrophages, may contribute to the progression of this lesion by mediating tubular injury and by the activation of interstitial fibroblasts, with resultant tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis, respectively. Altered expression and activation of adhesion molecules by leukocytes, vascular endothelial cells, and parenchymal cells likely contributes both to the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the tubulointerstitial compartment and to the interaction of activated inflammatory cells with parenchymal cells. Methods: In the current study, we examined changes in the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) in a 90-day model of maintained unilateral ureter ligation in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Results: Rat kidneys showed constitutive expression of ICAM-1 mRNA and constitutive immunostaining for ICAM-1 in peritubular capillaries, glomeruli, and a small percentage of cortical tubules. Ureter ligation resulted in a rapid increase in ICAM-1 mRNA, which was almost 2-fold greater than those of the contralateral and control kidneys as early as 3 h and which was maintained at a 4- to 6-fold higher level in the ligated vs. contralateral kidneys throughout the entire 90-day time course. There was a marked increase in ICAM-1 immunostaining within the tubular epithelium, with up to 80% of both cortical and medullary tubular cross-sections showing strong apical immunostaining from day 6 to 25, with a subsequent decrease throughout the remainder of the experiment. ICAM-1 immunostaining in the expanding interstitium in the ligated kidneys showed a gradual increase throughout the duration of the experiment. In contrast, glomerular immunostaining for ICAM-1 was decreased in the ligated compared to the contralateral kidneys throughout the entire experiment. There was a later but prominent increase in VCAM-1 mRNA in ligated kidneys, which was first evident at 2 days and which was maintained 2- to 10-fold greater than the contralateral kidneys throughout the entire time course. VCAM-1 immunostaining increased in the expanding interstitium, but decreased in glomeruli in obstructed vs. contralateral kidneys. Tubular staining for VCAM-1 did not change after ureter ligation. Conclusion: Increased ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 may contribute to the prominent inflammatory cell infiltration in the chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis accompanying maintained unilateral ligation. Tubule expression of ICAM-1, which occurs during a similar time course as previously documented for tubular cell proliferation and especially tubular cell apoptosis in this model, may contribute to injurious interactions of activated inflammatory cells with tubular epithelium. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- Adhesion molecules
- Chronic obstructive uropathy
- Intercellular adhesion molecule-1
- Tubulointerstitial damage
- Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1
ASJC Scopus subject areas