The chemokine receptor CXCR3 is highly expressed on Th1 polarized T cells and has been predicted to play an important role in T cell recruitment and immune response in a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. For testing whether CXCR3 plays a role in renal inflammation, CXCR3-deficient mice were generated and nephrotoxic nephritis was induced in C57BL/6 CXCR3(-/-) and C57BL/6 wild-type mice. Induction of the nephrotoxic nephritis leads to an increased renal mRNA expression of IP-10/CXCL10 (8.6-fold), Mig/CXCL9 (2.3-fold), and I-TAC/CXCL11 (4.9-fold) during the autologous phase at days 7 and 14. This increased chemokine expression was paralleled by the renal infiltration of T cells, followed by renal tissue injury, albuminuria, and loss of renal function. Compared with wild-type mice, CXCR3-deficient mice had significantly reduced renal T cell infiltrates. Moreover, CXCR3(-/-) mice developed less severe nephritis, with significantly lower albuminuria, better renal function, and a reduced frequency of glomerular crescent formation. Nephritic wild-type and CXCR3(-/-) mice both elicited an efficient systemic nephritogenic immune response in terms of antigen-specific IgG production and IFN-gamma expression by splenocytes in response to the nephritogenic antigen. These findings indicate that the ameliorated nephritis in CXCR3-deficient mice is due to impaired renal trafficking of effector T cells rather than their inability to mount an efficient humoral or cellular immune response. The neutralization of CXCR3 might be a promising therapeutic strategy for Th1-dependent inflammatory renal disease.
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