Analysis of macrophages in urine sediments in children with IgA nephropathy

Y Maruhashi, M Nakajima, H Akazawa, H Shimoyama, M Nishiguchi, Y Yamoto, H Kamitsuji, A Yoshioka
Clinical Nephrology 2004, 62 (5): 336-43

AIM: Although infiltrating macrophages found in renal biopsy specimens have been accepted as a useful marker for evaluating the activity of IgA nephropathy (IgAN), it is difficult to perform renal biopsies repeatedly, especially in children. To establish a more convenient and noninvasive method for estimating the degree of macrophage infiltration we examined the number of macrophages in urinary sediments.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ten ml of morning urine were collected from 30 children with IgAN, 10 with thin basement membrane disease (TBMD), 8 with idiopathic renal hemorrhage (IRH) which was defined as nonglomerular hematuria due to nutcracker phenomenon revealed on ultrasonography, and 10 healthy children as controls. Ten of the 30 children with IgAN were treated with combination therapy comprising prednisolone, warfarin and dipyridamole and urine samples were collected weekly during the period of treatment. Two microl of the urine sediment were smeared on glass slides, dried and stained with a monoclonal antibody to human macrophages (anti-CD68, PG-M1) followed by a FITC-conjugated secondary antibody. After staining with propidium iodide (PI), the cells were examined by fluorescence microscopy with cells stained with both FITC and PI being counted as macrophages. In addition, anti-CD68 staining was used to quantify macrophage infiltration in renal biopsies from the same group of IgAN patients.

RESULTS: The number of urine macrophages in children with IgAN was significantly higher than in children with TBMD and IRH as well as the control group (p < 0.01), whereas that was similar among TBMD, IRH and healthy children. In IgAN, there was a significant correlation between urine macrophage number and the activity index (p < 0.01), proteinuria (p < 0.01) and urine WBC count (p < 0.01). In addition, there was also a significant correlation between urine macrophage number and glomerular (p < 0.05) as well as interstitial macrophage infiltration (p < 0.01). In children with IgAN who received combination therapy, urine macrophage number decreased significantly (p < 0.01) in the 1st week of treatment whilst the degree of proteinuria decreased significantly (p < 0.01) in the 4th week.

CONCLUSION: Urinary macrophage number may represent a noninvasive and straightforward estimate of the pathological activity evident in renal biopsy specimens, and may also be a more sensitive indicator than proteinuria of the therapeutic effect of interventional treatments in childhood IgAN.

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