16 February 2001
In order to clarify the mechanism of unusual renal tubular dysfunction seen in a child with Shiga toxin (Stx)-mediated hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), we studied the renal biopsy specimens for Stx binding and apoptosis of renal tubular cells. A 7-year-old boy with Stx-2-mediated HUS demonstrated extensive renal tubular damage characterized by nonoliguric acute renal failure, increased urinary tubular enzymes and defective urine-concentrating capacity. His renal biopsy specimens were analyzed for Stx binding and apoptotic cell death. Seven kidney tissue specimens obtained from patients without HUS served as controls. Detection of Stx binding to renal sections and apoptotic cells were performed using mouse monoclonal anti-Stx 2 antibody and the TUNEL method, respectively. Positive staining was observed predominantly in renal tubular cells, while the 7 kidney tissue specimens from control patients did not show positive staining. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case to show Stx binding and apoptotic cell death in renal tubules on biopsy specimens obtained from a child with Stx-mediated HUS. In conclusion, this case suggests that vascular endothelial cells are not the sole nor the consistent target for Stx-mediated cell injury and that significant renal tubular damage other than glomerular damage might occur in some children with Stx-mediated HUS.