Effects of RS61443 on functional and morphological changes in chronically rejecting rat kidney allografts

Haruhito Azuma, Jochen Binder, Uwe Heemann, Christof Schmid, Stefan G. Tullius, Nicholas L. Tilney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


No immunosuppression agent is as yet available that prevents the process of chronic allograft rejection, the most critical cause of late organ allograft loss. RS61443 (mycophenolate mofetil) inhibits de novo DNA synthesis as well as diminishes expression of cell surface molecules and antibody production. As these factors seem important in the pathophysiology of the chronic phenomenon, we investigated the effects of the agent in an established model of chronic rejection of kidney allografts in a F344-to-Lewis rat strain combination. All recipients were treated for the first 10 days after engraftment with low-dose cyclosporine (1.5 mg/kg/day) to reverse an initial acute rejection episode. Since functional and morphological changes do not become manifest in this model until after 12 wk, treatment with RS61443 (15 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was either initiated at the day of grafting (Gp 1) or 8 wks thereafter (Gp 2), and continued throughout the follow-up period. Non-RS61443-treated allografted rats receiving vehicle only (Gp 3) developed progressive proteinuria after 12 wk. Peak cellular infiltration (particularly macrophages in glomeruli and perivascular areas) at 16 wk was associated with densely expressed adhesion molecules (ICAM-1 on endothelium), cytokines and growth factors (TNF-α and TGF-β in glomeruli and PDGF on arterial smooth muscle cells). Interstitial fibrosis, with tubular atrophy, glomerulosclerosis, and varying degrees of intimal proliferation and luminal obliteration of vessels, progressed thereafter. In vitro binding of MNC from naive animals to chronically rejecting allografted kidneys generally confirmed the immunohistological observations, peaking at 12 wk; this binding was significantly inhibited by mAbs against specific adhesion molecules (CDlla, CD18, and ICAM-1). Serum-allospecific IgG and IgM peaked at 1-2 wk after engraftment in the control recipients, decreasing thereafter. Although IgM declined to baseline after 12 wk, low levels of allospecifio IgG persisted throughout the follow-up period. In contrast, recipient treatment with RS61443 (both Gp 1 and Gp 2) allowed the allografts to function normally throughout follow-up period. Proteinuria was virtually absent, and morphological and immunohistological manifestations of the chronic process were markedly diminished. In addition, treated recipients developed no significant side effects, including leukopenia, anemia, thrombopenia, nephrotoxicity, and hepatotoxicity. It appears that this agent can safely prevent the changes of chronic rejection of kidney allografts in this rat model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 27 Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes


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