26 September 2002
Background: Habu snake venom (HSV)-induced glomerulonephritis is a unique model showing a progressive course of mesangial proliferation. To elucidate the in vitro effects of HSV, we examined whether HSV itself could have direct effects on the cultured mesangial cells, such as cell proliferation and activation of chemokine gene expression. Methods: The incorporation of 5-[<sup>125</sup>I]iodo-2’-deoxyuridine was measured with a γ-counter, and gene expressions of growth factors, chemokines and cytokines were evaluated by a real time quantitative PCR. Results: We demonstrated that excessive or continuous HSV stimulation decreased a mesangial cell viability. However, adequate and temporary HSV stimulation induced proliferation of mesangial cells in vitro along with a significant elevation of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) mRNA levels. In addition to these in vitro results, we showed that MCP-1 mRNA levels increased in renal cortices of glomerulonephritis induced by HSV. Immunohistochemistry also showed a positive staining for MCP-1 in the marginal area of glomerulus with mesangiolysis. Conclusions: These data suggest that HSV itself may elicit direct biological effects on mesangial cells which may participate in pathophysiology of glomerulonephritis induced by HSV.