Glomerular disease is characterized by proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, two pathologic features caused by podocyte injury and mesangial cell activation, respectively. However, whether these two events are linked remains elusive. Here, we report that sonic hedgehog (Shh) is the mediator that connects podocyte damage to mesangial activation and glomerulosclerosis. Shh was induced in glomerular podocytes in various models of proteinuric chronic kidney diseases (CKD). However, mesangial cells in the glomeruli, but not podocytes, responded to hedgehog ligand. In vitro, Shh was induced in podocytes after injury and selectively promoted mesangial cell activation and proliferation. In a miniorgan culture of isolated glomeruli, Shh promoted mesangial activation but did not affect the integrity of podocytes. Podocyte-specific ablation of Shh in vivo exhibited no effect on proteinuria after adriamycin injection but hampered mesangial activation and glomerulosclerosis. Consistently, pharmacologic blockade of Shh signaling decoupled proteinuria from glomerulosclerosis. In humans, Shh was upregulated in glomerular podocytes in patients with CKD and its circulating level was associated with glomerulosclerosis but not proteinuria. These studies demonstrate that Shh mechanistically links podocyte injury to mesangial activation in the pathogenesis of glomerular diseases. Our findings also illustrate a crucial role for podocyte-mesangial communication in connecting proteinuria to glomerulosclerosis.
Dong Zhou, Haiyan Fu, Yang Han, Lu Zhang, Shijia Liu, Lin Lin, Donna B. Stolz, Youhua Liu
This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you have not installed and configured the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.
PDFs are designed to be printed out and read, but if you prefer to read them online, you may find it easier if you increase the view size to 125%.
Many versions of the free Acrobat Reader do not allow Save. You must instead save the PDF from the JCI Online page you downloaded it from. PC users: Right-click on the Download link and choose the option that says something like "Save Link As...". Mac users should hold the mouse button down on the link to get these same options.