Pentoxifylline attenuates experimental mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis

Yung Ming Chen, Chiang Ting Chien, Mi I. Hu-Tsai, Kwan Dun Wu, Chien Chen Tsai, Ming Shiou Wu, Tun Jun Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Accumulation of glomerular macrophages, proliferation of mesangial cells (MCs), and deposition of extracellular matrix proteins are pathobiological hallmarks of glomerulonephritis. We previously reported that a clinically available nonselective inhibitor of cyclic 3',5'-nucleotide phosphodiesterase, pentoxifylline (PTX), inhibits proliferation of cultured rat MCs, as well as collagen production by these cells. In this study, we investigated the in vivo effects of PTX on rat anti-Thy1 disease, a model of mesangial proliferative nephritis. Methods. Anti-Thy1 nephritis was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by injecting mouse anti-rat Thy1 antibodies intravenously. Nephritic rats were randomly assigned to receive PTX (0.1 g/kg/day) or vehicle (phosphate-buffered saline) and were sacrificed at various time points. Paraffin kidney sections were stained with hematoxylin and periodic acid-Schiff reagents for glomerular histology. Frozen kidney sections were stained by monoclonal antibodies against proliferating cell nuclear antigen, ED-1, and α-smooth muscle actin and were visualized by color development from a horseradish peroxidase reaction. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM- 1), and various extracellular matrix mRNAs were analyzed by Northern blotting. Urine protein concentrations were determined by Lowry's method. Results. Nephritic rats treated with PTX excreted less urinary protein on day 5 of nephritis than vehicle-treated nephritic rats. In periodic acid-Schiff- stained kidneys from PTX-treated nephritic rats, there was attenuation of both glomerular cellularity and glomerular sclerosis compared with vehicle- treated nephritic rats. PTX decreased the augmented glomerular mRNA levels of MCP-1 and ICAM-1 at two hours and on day 1 of nephritis. Immunoreactive staining showed that PTX reduced the number of proliferating glomerular macrophages on days 1, 2, and 3, but not at two hours of nephritis, compared with vehicle-treated nephritic rats. On day 5, PTX decreased the number of activated proliferating MCs and attenuated the glomerular mRNA levels of type I (α1), type III (α1), and type IV (α1) collagen and fibronectin compared with vehicle-treated nephritic rats. Conclusion. The administration of PTX to rats with anti-Thy1 disease reduces accumulation and proliferation of glomerular macrophages, attenuates proteinuria, suppresses activation and proliferation of MCs, and ameliorates glomerular sclerosis. These results suggest that PTX may have a suppressive effect in acute phases or relapses of mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-943
Number of pages12
JournalKidney International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-Thy1 glomerulonephritis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Intercellular adhesion molecule-1
  • Mesangial cell
  • Monocyte/macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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