Background: The CD34 antigen is a marker of precursor myeloid cells and endothelial cells, but also of a subset of spindle cells. Methods: To establish the possible role of CD34+ cells in the progression of glomerulonephritis, 30 renal biopsies were investigated. Immunohistochemistry for CD34 and smooth muscle actin (SMA) were performed by standard methods. The results were assessed semiquantitatively. The relative interstitial volume (RIV) was evaluated by the point counting method. Clinical data such as sex, age, serum creatinine and urea levels were taken into account. Results: CD34+ spindle cells and SMA+ myofibroblasts were present in the renal interstitium in all but one case. In membranous, membranoproliferative and segmental-proliferative glomerulonephritis, CD34+ cells were seen in clusters, while in IgA nephropathy and in segmental and focal glomerulosclerosis, single, scattered cells were seen. The density of CD34+ cells showed a positive correlation with the myofibroblast density and the RIV. Serum creatinine and urea levels were associated with the RIV of the kidney and to a smaller degree with the number of myofibroblasts and CD34+ cells. Conclusion: These results show that in glomerulonephritis, CD34+ spindle cells appear in the interstitium. At present, their possible role can only be speculated.

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