Annemiek van Spriel, theme Cancer development and immune defense, and Johan van der Vlag, theme Renal disorders, showed in Kidney International that tetraspanin CD37 protects against IgA nephropathy by inhibition of the IL-6 pathway.Publication: link
Annemiek van Spriel
Johan van der Vlag
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy (IgAN), the most common glomerulonephritis worldwide, is characterized by IgA depositions in the kidney. Deficiency of CD37, a leukocyte-specific tetraspanin, leads to spontaneous development of renal pathology resembling IgAN. However, the underlying molecular mechanism has not been resolved. Here we found that CD37 expression on B cells of patients with IgAN was significantly decreased compared to B cells of healthy donors. Circulating interleukin (IL)-6 levels, but not tumor necrosis factor-α or IL-10, were elevated in Cd37-/- mice compared to wild-type mice after lipopolysaccharide treatment. Cd37-/- mice displayed increased glomerular neutrophil influx, immune complex deposition, and worse renal function. To evaluate the role of IL-6 in the pathogenesis of accelerated renal pathology in Cd37-/-mice, we generated Cd37xIl6 double-knockout mice. These double-knockout and Il6-/- mice displayed no glomerular IgA deposition and were protected from exacerbated renal failure following lipopolysaccharide treatment. Moreover, kidneys of Cd37-/- mice showed more mesangial proliferation, endothelial cell activation, podocyte activation, and segmental podocyte foot process effacement compared to the double-knockout mice, emphasizing that IL-6 mediates renal pathology in Cd37-/- mice. Thus, our study indicates that CD37 may protect against IgA nephropathy by inhibition of the IL-6 pathway.