We studied the expression of PDGF-alpha and -beta receptors in 10 normal and 40 pathologic human kidneys (five minimal change disease, five membranous nephropathy, 25 IgA nephropathy, five lupus nephritis), by both immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques. In normal-appearing kidneys, both PDGF-alpha and -beta receptors were expressed at the glomerular and interstitial level, the latter receptor more intensely than the former. The distribution and degree of expression of both receptors in nonproliferative glomerulonephritides were comparable with those found in normal-appearing kidneys. PDGF-beta receptor gene and protein expression were upregulated in proliferative nephritides both at the glomerular and the interstitial level and strictly correlated with the grade of histologic lesions. Finally, PDGF beta receptor expression was observed at a low level in normal-appearing renal vessels, and strikingly increased in injured arteries. Diseased kidneys displayed only a slight increase of PDGF-alpha receptor expression, chiefly at the interstitial level. Noteworthy, a few cases of lupus nephritis showed a moderate increase of PDGF-alpha receptor also at the glomerular level. These data establish PDGF-beta receptor activation as a candidate for driving glomerular and interstitial proliferation and, probably, expansion of extracellular matrix in proliferative glomerulonephritis, while the role of PDGF-alpha receptor activation at the renal level remains to be elucidated.
L Gesualdo, S Di Paolo, S Milani, M Pinzani, C Grappone, E Ranieri, G Pannarale, F P Schena