We examined the effects of daily cyclophosphamide administration on the development and extent of tubulointerstitial nephritis produced in rats injected with tubular basement membranes in adjuvant. 15 mg/kg/day of cyclophosphamide completely blocked the development of interstitial lesions, while 2 mg/kg/day enhanced the degree of interstitial injury. When cyclophosphamide in the higher dose was started early in disease, 12 days after immunization, protection from progression was also observed as well as significant reductive improvement. If cyclophosphamide was administered late in disease, 21 days after immunization, no further progression was demonstrable, but substantial injury remained. In the latter two experiments, the beneficial effects of cyclophosphamide could not be explained by a reduction in anti-tubular basement membrane antibodies bound to the kidney. In groups of immunized rats that were tested, however, cyclophosphamide was able to non-specifically impair the delayed-type hypersensitivity response to tubular antigen and PPD. We conclude, therefore, that cyclophosphamide, in high but not low dosage, if given before damage is extensive and prolonged, may successfully inhibit the cellular immune response producing primary interstitial nephritis.
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