The clinical investigator

, Volume 70, Issue 9, pp 865–874 | Cite as

Pathology of the human mesangium in situ

  • R. Waldherr
  • S. Cuzic
  • I. L. Noronha
Guest Lecture, “Gesellschaft für Nephrologie”, 23rd Congress


Mesangial cells play an important role in the development and progression of human glomerular disease. This article summarizes some important aspects of mesangial properties and behaviour in situ. Intrinsic mesangial cells express α-smooth muscle actin and are best characterized as myofibroblasts or glomerular pericytes. The main intergin receptor in the mesangium is the α1\1 integrin. The \2 and \3 integrins have not been detected. Mesangial cells in situ fail to react with many monoclonal antibodies which stain human mesangial cells in culture, including leukocyte activation antigens. Prominent reactions in glomerular disease are mesangial expansion and progressive glomerular sclerosis, which are preceded by or associated with mesangial cell hypertrophy and/or proliferation. Mesangial enlargement is accompanied by an altered integrin expression and an abnormal composition of extracellular mesangial matrix. From the numerous autocrine and paracrine mediators identified in vitro which stimulate or inhibit mesangial cell growth and extracellular matrix synthesis, up to now only a few factors have been shown to be present in selected human glomerulopathies. These include platelet derived growth factors and platelet derived growth factor receptor β, transforming growth factors \, interleukin 1β, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 6. Further identification of such mediators in situ will improve our understanding of pathological glomerular processes, particularly with respect to the multifunctional properties of the mesangial cell.

Key words

Glomerular mesangium Glomerulonephritis Glomerulosclerosis Integrins Cytokines 



glomerular basement membrane




systemic lupus erythematodes


membrane attack complex


alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase


leucocyte common antigen




platelet-derived growth factor


transforming growth factor




proliferating cell nuclear antigen




insulin-like growth factor


epidermal growth factor


tumour necrosis factor


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Waldherr
    • 1
  • S. Cuzic
    • 1
  • I. L. Noronha
    • 1
  1. 1.Pathologisches InstitutUniversität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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