Key words Kidney
Heat shock protein 47
Rat (Fischer 344)
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract To explore the possible role of heat shock protein (HSP) 47 in the age-related renal changes in Fischer 344 (F 344) rats, the expression of collagen-binding HSP47 with various proteins implicated in phenotypic modulation (α-smooth muscle actin, desmin, and vimentin) and fibrosis (type I, type III, and type IV collagens) was examined in young and old F 344 rat kidneys. Male F 344 rats often develop spontaneous nephropathy in old age. Kidneys obtained from 24-month-old F 344 rats showed glomerulosclerosis with marked tubulointerstitial damage including interstitial fibrosis, while no significant histological alteration was found in the kidneys of 6-month-old rats. Immunohistochemical analysis showed an increased accumulation of type I, type III, and type IV collagens in areas of glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis in old rat kidneys. In kidneys of young rats, collagen-binding HSP47 expression was weak in the glomeruli and occasionally seen in the interstitial cells. In contrast, strong immunostaining for HSP47 was noted in the glomeruli, tubular epithelial cells, and interstitial cells in kidneys of old rats. In addition, phenotypic alterations of mesangial cells and interstitial cells (immunopositive for α-smooth muscle actin), glomerular epithelial cells (immunopositive for desmin), and tubular epithelial cells (immunopositive for vimentin) were found in the kidneys of old F 344 rats. Double immunostaining showed that all these phenotypically altered renal cells express HSP47 and that increased expression of HSP47 was always associated with increased expression of collagens in the old rat kidneys. From the above observations, it is concluded that overexpression of HSP47 by phenotypically altered renal cells might play an important role in the excessive assembly of collagens and could thereby contribute to the glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis found in kidneys of aged F 344 rats.
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