Macrophage depletion ameliorates nephritis induced by pathogenic antibodies

Samantha A. Chalmers, Violeta Chitu, Leal C. Herlitz, Ranjit Sahu, E. Richard Stanley, Chaim Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kidney involvement affects 40-60% of patients with lupus, and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. Using depletion approaches, several studies have suggested that macrophages may play a key role in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. However, "off target" effects of macrophage depletion, such as altered hematopoiesis or enhanced autoantibody production, impeded the determination of a conclusive relationship. In this study, we investigated the role of macrophages in mice receiving rabbit anti-glomerular antibodies, or nephrotoxic serum (NTS), an experimental model which closely mimics the immune complex mediated disease seen in murine and human lupus nephritis. GW2580, a selective inhibitor of the colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) receptor kinase, was used for macrophage depletion. We found that GW2580-treated, NTS challenged mice did not develop the increased levels of proteinuria, serum creatinine, and BUN seen in control-treated, NTS challenged mice. NTS challenged mice exhibited significantly increased kidney expression of inflammatory cytokines including RANTES, IP-10, VCAM-1 and iNOS, whereas GW2580-treated mice were protected from the robust expression of these inflammatory cytokines that are associated with lupus nephritis. Quantification of macrophage related gene expression, flow cytometry analysis of kidney single cell suspensions, and immunofluorescence staining confirmed the depletion of macrophages in GW2580-treated mice, specifically within renal glomeruli. Our results strongly implicate a specific and necessary role for macrophages in the development of immune glomerulonephritis mediated by pathogenic antibodies, and support the development of macrophage targeting approaches for the treatment of lupus nephritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Lupus nephritis
  • Macrophages
  • Nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTS)
  • SLE

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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