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The spleen has been implicated in the pathogenesis of immune-complex glomerulonephritis by initiating and resolving adaptive immune responses. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the role of the spleen in experimental nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTS). In order to accelerate the disease, animals were subjected to NTS by preimmunizing male C57BL/6J mice with rabbit IgG three days before injecting the rabbit anti-glomerular basement antiserum, or were immunized only. A group underwent splenectomy before NTS induction. We observed enlargement of the spleen with a maximum at 14 days after NTS induction or immunization only. Splenectomized mice were found to develop albuminuria and renal histological changes comparable to sham-operated controls. Nevertheless, anaemia was aggravated in mice after splenectomy. During the course of NTS, we detected CD41+ megakaryocytes and Ter119+ erythroid precursor cells in the spleen of mice with NTS and of immunized mice. Ter119+Cxcr4+ cells and the binding partner Cxcl12 increased in the spleen, and decreased in the bone marrow. This was accompanied by a significant systemic increase of interferon-gamma in the serum. In summary, splenectomy does not influence the course of NTS per se, but is involved in concomitant anaemia. Extramedullary haematopoiesis in the spleen is probably facilitated through the migration of Cxcr4+ erythroid precursor cells from the bone marrow to the spleen via a Cxcl12 gradient and likely arises from the suppressive capacity of chronic inflammation on the bone marrow.


Katharina Artinger, Alexander H Kirsch, Ida Aringer, Corinna Schabhüttl, Alexander R Rosenkranz, Philipp Eller, Elena Rho, Kathrin Eller. The Spleen Plays No Role in Nephrotoxic Serum Nephritis, but Constitutes a Place of Compensatory Haematopoiesis. PloS one. 2015;10(8):e0135087

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PMID: 26247770

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