Blood capillary rarefaction and lymphatic capillary neoangiogenesis are key contributors to renal allograft fibrosis in an ACE inhibition rat model

P. Hamar, Dontscho Kerjaschki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic allograft fibrosis is the major cause of graft loss in kidney transplantation. Progression can only be reduced by inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). We tested the hypothesis that the protection provided by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition also decreases capillary rarefaction, lymphangiogenesis, and podocyte injury in allograft fibrosis. Fisher kidneys were transplanted into bilaterally nephrectomized Lewis rats treated with enalapril (60 mg/kg per day) (ACE inhibitor, ACEi) or vehicle. Proteinuria, blood urea nitrogen, and plasma creatinine were regularly assessed, and grafts were harvested for morphological and immunohistological analysis at various times up to 32 wk. In the vehicle group, many new lymphatic capillaries and severe and diffuse mononuclear infiltration of allografts were observed already 1 wk after transplantation. Lymphangiogenesis increased until week 4, by which time inflammatory infiltration became focal. Lymphatic capillaries were often located at sites of inflammation. Progressive interstitial fibrosis, glomerulosclerosis, capillary rarefaction, and proteinuria appeared later, at weeks 4-12. The number of lymphatic capillary cross sections strongly correlated with the interstitial fibrosis score. Podoplanin immunostaining, a marker of healthy podocytes, disappeared from inflamed or sclerotic glomerular areas. ACEi protected from lymphangiogenesis and associated inflammation, preserved glomerular podoplanin protein expression, and reduced glomerulosclerosis, proteinuria, tubulointerstitial fibrosis, and blood capillary rarefaction at 32 wk. In conclusion, ACEi considerably decreased and/or delayed both glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial injury. Prevention of glomerular podoplanin loss and proteinuria could be attributed to the known intraglomerular pressurelowering effects of ACEi. Reduction of lymphangiogenesis could contribute to amelioration of tubulointerstitial fibrosis and inflammatory infiltration after ACEi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H981-H990
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition
  • Capillary rarefaction
  • Chronic allograft fibrosis
  • Glomerular podoplanin
  • Lymphangiogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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