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Vielhauer, Volker; Anders, Hans-Joachim; de Lema, Guillermo Pérez; Luckow, Bruno; Schlöndorff, Detlef and Mack, Matthias (2003): Phenotyping renal leukocyte subsets by four-color flow cytometry: Characterization of chemokine receptor expression. In: Nephron Experimental Nephrology, No. 2, E63-E71 [PDF, 387kB]


To investigate mechanisms of cell-mediated injury in renal inflammatory disease it is critical to determine the surface phenotype of infiltrating renal leukocyte subsets. However, the cell-specific expression of many leukocyte receptors is difficult to characterize in vivo. Here, we report a protocol based on flow cytometry that allows simultaneous characterization of surface receptor expression on different subsets of infiltrating renal leukocytes. The described technique combines an adapted method to prepare single cell suspensions from whole kidneys with subsequent four-color flow cytometry. We recently applied this technique to determine the differential expression of murine chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR5 on infiltrating renal leukocyte subsets. In this article, we summarize our current findings on the validity of the method as compared with immunohistology and in situ hybridization in two murine models of nonimmune ( obstructive nephropathy) and immune-mediated ( lupus nephritis) inflammatory renal disease. Flow cytometry analysis revealed an accumulation of CCR5-, but not CCR2-positive lymphocytes in inflamed kidneys, compared to the peripheral blood. Particularly renal CD8(+) cells expressed CCR5 (79% in obstructed kidneys, 90% in lupus nephritis). In both models, infiltrating renal macrophages were positive for CCR2 and CCR5. These data corresponded to immunohistological and in situ hybridization results. They demonstrate that flow cytometric analysis of single cell suspensions prepared from inflamed kidneys is a rapid and reliable technique to characterize and quantify surface receptor expression on infiltrating renal leukocyte subsets.

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