Renal tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis are common hallmarks of etiologically different progressive chronic kidney diseases (CKD) that eventually result in organ failure. Even though these pathological manifestations constitute a major public health problem, diagnostic tests, as well as therapeutic options, are currently limited. Members of the dickkopf (DKK) family, DKK1 and -2, have been associated with inhibition of Wnt signaling and organ fibrosis. Here, we identify DKK3 as a stress-induced, tubular epithelia–derived, secreted glycoprotein that mediates kidney fibrosis. Genetic as well as antibody-mediated abrogation of DKK3 led to reduced tubular atrophy and decreased interstitial matrix accumulation in two mouse models of renal fibrosis. This was facilitated by an amplified, antifibrogenic, inflammatory T cell response and diminished canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling in stressed tubular epithelial cells. Moreover, in humans, urinary DKK3 levels specifically correlated with the extent of tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis in different glomerular and tubulointerstitial diseases. In summary, our data suggest that DKK3 constitutes an immunosuppressive and a profibrotic epithelial protein that might serve as a potential therapeutic target and diagnostic marker in renal fibrosis.
Giuseppina Federico, Michael Meister, Daniel Mathow, Gunnar H. Heine, Gerhard Moldenhauer, Zoran V. Popovic, Viola Nordström, Annette Kopp-Schneider, Thomas Hielscher, Peter J. Nelson, Franz Schaefer, Stefan Porubsky, Danilo Fliser, Bernd Arnold, Hermann-Josef Gröne
Stimulation of β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR), a GPCR, and the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), a pattern recognition receptor (PRR), have been independently implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiomyopathy caused by various etiologies, including myocardial infarction, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and metabolic stress. Here, we show that the two distinctly different receptors, β1AR and RAGE, are mutually dependent in mediating myocardial injury and the sequelae of cardiomyopathy. Deficiency or inhibition of RAGE blocks β1AR- and RAGE-mediated myocardial cell death and maladaptive remodeling. Ablation or blockade of β1AR fully abolishes RAGE-induced detrimental effects. Mechanistically, RAGE and β1AR form a complex, which in turn activates Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII), resulting in loss of cardiomyocytes and myocardial remodeling. These results indicate that RAGE and β1AR not only physically crosstalk at the receptor level, but also functionally converge at the common mediator, CaMKII, highlighting a combined inhibition of RAGE and β1AR as a more effective therapy to treat diverse cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and diabetic cardiovascular complications.
Weizhong Zhu, Sharon Tsang, David M. Browe, Anthony Y.H. Woo, Ying Huang, Chanjuan Xu, Jian-Feng Liu, Fengxiang Lv, Yan Zhang, Rui-ping Xiao
Acute allograft rejection is mediated by host CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) targeting graft class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. In experimental rodent models, rejection requires differentiation of naive CD8+ T cells into alloreactive CTL within secondary lymphoid organs, whereas in humans, CTL may alternatively develop within the graft from circulating CD8+ effector memory T cells (TEM) that recognize class I MHC molecules on graft endothelial cells (EC). This latter pathway is poorly understood. Here, we show that host CD4+ TEM, activated by EC class II MHC molecules, provide critical help for this process. First, blocking HLA-DR on EC lining human artery grafts in immunodeficient mice reduces CD8+ CTL development within and acute rejection of the artery by adoptively transferred allogeneic human lymphocytes. Second, siRNA knockdown or CRISPR/Cas9 ablation of class II MHC molecules on EC prevents CD4+ TEM from helping CD8+ TEM to develop into CTL in vitro. Finally, implanted synthetic microvessels, formed from CRISPR/Cas9-modified EC lacking class II MHC molecules, are significantly protected from CD8+ T cell–mediated destruction in vivo. We conclude that human CD8+ TEM–mediated rejection targeting graft EC class I MHC molecules requires help from CD4+ TEM cells activated by recognition of class II MHC molecules.
Parwiz Abrahimi, Lingfeng Qin, William G. Chang, Alfred L.M. Bothwell, George Tellides, W. Mark Saltzman, Jordan S. Pober
BACKGROUND. Kidney transplant biopsies offer an opportunity to understand the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis. We studied the relationships between the time of biopsy after transplant (TxBx), histologic fibrosis, diseases, and transcript expression.
METHODS. Expression microarrays from 681 kidney transplant indication biopsies taken either early (
RESULTS. Fibrosis was absent at transplantation but was present in some early biopsies by 4 months after transplant, apparently as a self-limited response to donation implantation injury not associated with progression to failure. The molecular phenotype of early biopsies represented the time sequence of the response to wounding: immediate expression of acute kidney injury transcripts, followed by fibrillar collagen transcripts after several weeks, then by the appearance of immunoglobulin and mast cell transcripts after several months as fibrosis appeared. Fibrosis in late biopsies correlated with injury, fibrillar collagen, immunoglobulin, and mast cell transcripts, but these were independent of time. Pathway analysis revealed epithelial response-to-wounding pathways such as Wnt/β-catenin.
CONCLUSION. Fibrosis in late biopsies had different associations because many kidneys had potentially progressive diseases and subsequently failed. Molecular correlations with fibrosis in late biopsies were independent of time, probably because ongoing injury obscured the response-to-wounding time sequence. The results indicate that fibrosis in kidney transplants is driven by nephron injury and that progression to failure reflects continuing injury, not autonomous fibrogenesis.
TRIAL REGISTRATION. INTERCOM study (www.clinicalTrials.gov; NCT01299168).
FUNDING. Canada Foundation for Innovation and Genome Canada.
Jeffery M. Venner, Konrad S. Famulski, Jeff Reeve, Jessica Chang, Philip F. Halloran
We are delighted to publish the first set of articles in