Background. Acute rejection is characterized histologically by infiltration of the interstitium by mononuclear cells. Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) has recently been identified as a monocyte chemotactic factor. This study examined the possible role of MCP-1 in renal transplantation. Methods. The concentration of MCP-1 in urine and serum of 19 renal transplant patients was investigated using an inhibition radioimmunoassay. The patients were divided into a non-rejection (NRj) and a rejection (Rj) group. Normal healthy volunteers were included as controls. Immunoperoxidase staining for MCP-1 and CD14, as a marker for macrophages, was performed in renal biopsies of transplant patients with rejection and six biopsies from histologically normal kidneys, as controls. The size of urinary MCP-1 was determined by gel filtration chromatography and in a number of fractions assessed for monocyte chemotactic activity using a modified Boyden chamber assay. Results. Urinary excretion of MCP-1 in the Rj group ranged between 250 ng/mmol Cr and 3148 ng/mmol Cr with a median of 612 ng/mmol Cr. This is significantly higher than the results in the NRj group, ranging between 47 ng/mmol Cr and 388 ng/mmol Cr with a median of 229 ng/mmol Cr. In the normal control group, urinary MCP-1 levels ranged between 38 ng/mmol Cr and 74 ng/mmol Cr with a median of 50 ng/mmol Cr. The fractional excretion of MCP-1, calculated on the basis of MCP-1 and creatinine clearances, was found also to be significantly higher in the Rj group as compared to the NRj group. However, there was no significant difference in the serum levels of MCP-1 between the Rj, NRj, and normal control group. The intensity of MCP-1 staining in tubular epithelial cells and the degree of CD14+ cells in the interstitium was significantly higher in renal allograft biopsies than in the normal kidneys. In addition, MCP-1 isolated from urine of renal transplant patients with rejection was filtered with apparent molecular weight of 13 kDa and 11 kDa. Both sizes are chemotactically active for monocytes. Conclusions. These data suggest that urinary excretion of MCP-1 can be used as a marker for the episodes of acute rejection. The increase of urinary excretion of MCP-1 most likely is the result of local production by tubular epithelial cells. MCP-1 produced locally may, at least in part, be responsible for the influx of macrophages into the interstitium during rejection.
- Acute rejection
- Urinary excretion