In patients with glomerulonephritis widespread crescents are associated with a poor prognosis. Crescent formation appears to depend on the migration of mononuclear cells into Bowman's space, and therefore the interaction between leukocytes and glomerular endothelium may be a critical event in the genesis of crescents. We performed the present study to determine the effects of mouse monoclonal antibodies to the adhesion molecules intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) in a model of crescentic glomerulonephritis in Wistar-Kyoto rats, induced by immunization with bovine glomerular basement membrane (GBM). By 10-14 d after immunization, the rats had developed circulating anti-GBM antibodies, reactive with the alpha 3 chain of type IV collagen (the Goodpasture antigen), accompanied by proteinuria, accumulation of rat immunoglobulin (Ig)G in the GBM, increased expression of ICAM-1 by glomerular endothelial cells, infiltration of glomerular tufts with LFA-1+ T cells and monocyte/macrophages, and early crescents. At 5 wk all rats had diffuse fibrocellular crescents, glomerular sclerosis, and tubulointerstitial damage. All rats developed severe renal insufficiency and died by 5 or 6 wk. The administration of monoclonal antibodies to rat ICAM-1 and LFA-1 markedly decreased the severity of the renal disease. In a group of rats injected three times a week with the monoclonal antibodies, from 2 d before immunization with GBM to day 14, glomerular abnormalities and proteinuria were virtually absent at day 14; even at 5 wk glomerular disease was quite mild, with only slight crescent formation and with only a mild decrease in renal function. When treatment was continued until 5 wk, the beneficial effects were even more marked, with virtual absence of crescents and with preservation of normal renal function. In a group of rats in which treatment was initiated on day 14, shortly after the appearance of glomerular abnormalities, progression of the disease was appreciably retarded, and the decrease in renal function was inhibited. The kidneys of rats treated from days -2 to 14 with antibodies to ICAM-1 and LFA-1 showed bright linear staining for rat IgG along the GBM, which did not differ in intensity from that seen in untreated rats. Furthermore, the titers of anti-GBM antibodies at 2 wk in treated rats were not lower than that seen in most of the untreated rats. There was, however, moderate reduction of anti-GBM antibodies at 5 wk in the treated rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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