Fibroblast-specific protein 1 is a specific prognostic marker for renal survival in patients with IgAN

Yoshiharu Nishitani, Masayuki Iwano, Yukinari Yamaguchi, Koji Harada, Kimihiko Nakatani, Yasuhiro Akai, Toshihiko Nishino, Hideo Shiiki, Masao Kanauchi, Yoshihiko Saito, Eric G. Neilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background. There is little direct evidence that fibroblasts are involved in the progression of the renal interstitial fibrosis in human glomerulonephritis. With the availability of a new specific marker for fibroblasts, we determined the presence of fibroblasts in kidneys with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and correlated their numbers with various clinical parameters. In particular, we also prospectively asked if the number of fibroblasts in the renal interstitium correlates with prognosis. Methods. Cells positive for fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP1) were localized in renal biopsy specimens using immunohistochemistry with anti-FSP1 antibody. Clinical features were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the Bonferroni correction. To assess the prognostic impact of the number of FSP1+ fibroblasts on renal survival in 142 patients with normal serum creatinine, the relationship between covariates to renal survival were evaluated univariately using the log-rank test and multivariately using Cox proportional hazards. Results. Fibroblasts identified by their expression of FSP1 accumulate in areas showing severe interstitial fibrosis. Some tubular epithelial cells undergoing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in fibrotic areas also express FSP1. Numbers of FSP1+ fibroblasts directly correlate with serum creatinine (r = 0.74, P < 0.0001) and inversely correlate with estimated creatinine clearance (r = -0.54, P < 0.0001), and by multivariate analysis, the clinical factors influencing renal survival are urinary protein excretion [≥1.0 g/day, relative risk (RR) = 4.20, P = 0.032], hypertension (RR 5.85, P = 0.0027), and ≥20 FSP1+ fibroblasts per high power field (HPF) (RR 7.39, P = 0.0015). Staining for FSP1+ fibroblasts is largely nonoverlapping with α-smooth muscle actin+ (α-SMA) cells in the interstitium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1085
Number of pages8
JournalKidney international
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • And multivariate analysis
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Fibroblast-specific protein 1
  • IgA nephropathy
  • Interstitial fibrosis
  • Renal failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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