• cyclooxygenases-1;
  • cyclooxygenases-2;
  • human renal allograft rejection;
  • immunohistochemistry


Cyclooxygenases (COX) are known to be involved in inflammatory kidney diseases. However, there are no data available about the expression of COX-1 and only preliminary reports about the expression of COX-2 in biopsies of patients undergoing acute renal allograft rejection. We conducted this prospective study to analyze the expression, distribution, and cellular localization of COX-1 and -2 and thus to elucidate the role of COX in human kidney transplantation. One hundred forty-four biopsies were included from patients without rejection and unaltered morphology (n = 60), with acute interstitial rejection (n = 7), with acute vascular rejection (n = 21), with chronic allograft nephropathy (n = 16), without rejection but with various other lesions (n = 40). COX-1 and -2 expression was localized in each biopsy by immunohistochemistry. We found a highly significant up-regulation of COX-1 in vessels and in infiltrating interstitial cells of patients with acute allograft rejection compared with biopsies with well-preserved tissue. Also, COX-2 expression was significantly elevated in infiltrating interstitial cells of biopsies with acute rejection. This is the first prospective study demonstrating a significant induction of both COX-1 and -2 in human allograft biopsies with acute rejection after renal transplantation.