Eosinophilic crystals have been described in the upper and lower respiratory tract, gall bladder, intrahepatic bile ducts and glandular stomach of different laboratory mice strains. They have been recently identified as chitinase-like (Ym1/Ym2) proteins. Here we describe the occurrence of eosinophilic crystals in the renal tubules of mice with experimentally induced acute myelogenous leukaemia. Fourteen FVB/N and 29 129Sv mice of both sexes, 8-10 weeks of age, were employed to establish a model of human acute myelogenous leukaemia. Nine mice that developed a widespread acute myelogenous leukaemia revealed the presence of eosinophilic crystals in renal tubules. The presence of eosinophilic crystals in the kidneys was constantly associated with a hyaline droplet nephropathy. Immunohistochemistry showed that the crystals and the hyaline droplets were composed of chitinase-like (Ym1/Ym2) proteins. Furthermore, immunoreactivity for Ym1/Ym2 proteins was also detected in the crystalline material stored in the cytoplasm of large macrophage-like cells or in extracellular localization within the leukaemic infiltrates. On the basis of our results we hypothesize that the detection of the Ym1/Ym2 proteins in the urine of mice might represent a feasible indicator of the burden and progression of the leukaemic condition in our murine model.
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