Mechanisms of neutrophil transmigration across renal proximal tubular HK-2 cells

Klaudija Bijuklic, Daniel H Sturn, Paul Jennings, Jordan Kountchev, Walter Pfaller, Christian J Wiedermann, Josef R Patsch, Michael Joannidis

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Adhesion of intratubular leukocytes to proximal tubules in biopsies of patients with rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis and the appearance of leukocytes in the urine in interstitial nephritis suggest interactions between leukocytes and tubular epithelia in renal diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of cytokines and endotoxin on leukocyte migration through proximal tubular epithelial cells and also to determine the role of the transmembrane adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and CD47 in this process.

METHODS: Experiments determined transepithelial migration (TEM) of PMN (polymorphonuclear) leukocytes through monolayers of HK-2. Expression of ICAM-1 and CD47 was assessed via confocal immunofluorescence, FACS analysis and western blotting. The effect of antibodies against ICAM-1 and CD47 on TEM was examined. Furthermore measurements of cytokine release (IL- 6 and IL-8) were performed.

RESULTS: Preincubation of HK-2 cells with either TNFalpha or LPS resulted in stimulation of PMN migration through monolayers of HK-2 cells. There was no preferred direction of transmigration. ICAM-1 was expressed by HK-2 cells and expression was increased after 4 h stimulation with TNFalpha or LPS. Application of ICAM-1 antibodies inhibited TEM. CD47 was expressed in both HK-2 cells and PMN. CD47 antibodies inhibited predominantly basolateral-to-apical TEM. HK-2 cells released IL-8 and IL-6 preferably into the apical compartment. Additionally, we showed that fMLP induced transmigration through monolayers of HK-2 cells was associated with significant increased CD47 expression on PMN cell surfaces.

CONCLUSIONS: Inflammatory mediators stimulate TEM of PMN through monolayers of HK-2 cells without a clearly discernible preference of direction. Mechanisms involved in TEM stimulated by cytokines or endotoxin appear to be mainly changes in surface receptor densities of HK-2 cells with ICAM-1 and CD47 playing an essential role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-44
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD47
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Cytokines
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neutrophils
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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