PloS one

Quantitative and qualitative urinary cellular patterns correlate with progression of murine glomerulonephritis.

PMID 21304992


The kidney is a nonregenerative organ composed of numerous functional nephrons and collecting ducts (CDs). Glomerular and tubulointerstitial damages decrease the number of functional nephrons and cause anatomical and physiological alterations resulting in renal dysfunction. It has recently been reported that nephron constituent cells are dropped into the urine in several pathological conditions associated with renal functional deterioration. We investigated the quantitative and qualitative urinary cellular patterns in a murine glomerulonephritis model and elucidated the correlation between cellular patterns and renal pathology.Urinary cytology and renal histopathology were analyzed in BXSB/MpJ (BXSB; glomerulonephritis model) and C57BL/6 (B6; control) mice. Urinary cytology revealed that the number of urinary cells in BXSB mice changed according to the histometric score of glomerulonephritis and urinary albumin; however, no correlation was detected for the levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. The expression of specific markers for podocytes, distal tubules (DTs), and CDs was detected in BXSB urine. Cells immunopositive for Wilms tumor 1 (podocyte marker) and interleukin-1 family, member 6 (damaged DT and CD marker) in the kidney significantly decreased and increased in BXSB versus B6, respectively. In the PCR array analysis of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, Il10, Cxcl2, C3, and Il1rn showed relatively higher expression in BXSB kidneys than in B6 kidneys. In particular, the highest expression of C3 mRNA was detected in the urine from BXSB mice. Furthermore, C3 protein and mRNA were localized in the epithelia of damaged nephrons.These findings suggest that epithelial cells of the glomerulus, DT, and CD are dropped into the urine, and that these patterns are associated with renal pathology progression. We conclude that evaluation of urinary cellular patterns plays a key role in the early, noninvasive diagnosis of renal disease.