Free light chains (FLCs) induce inflammatory pathways in proximal tubule cells (PTCs). The role of toll-like receptors (TLR) in these responses is unknown. Here we present findings on the role of TLRs in FLC-induced PTC injury. We exposed human kidney PTC cultures to κ and λ FLCs, and used cell supernatants and pellets for ELISA and gene expression studies. We also analyzed tissues from Stat1–/– and littermate control mice treated with daily intraperitoneal injections of a κ-FLC for 10 days. FLCs increased the expression of TLRs 2, 4, 6 via HMGB1, a damage-associated molecular pattern. Countering TLRs 2, 4, and 6 through GIT-27 or specific TLR-siRNAs reduced downstream cytokine responses. Blocking HMGB1 through siRNA or pharmacologic inhibition, or via STAT1 inhibition reduced FLC-induced TLRs 2, 4, and 6 expression. Blocking endocytosis of FLCs through silencing of megalin/cubilin, with bafilomycin-A1, or hypertonic sucrose attenuated FLC-induced cytokine responses in PTCs. Immunohistochemistry showed decreased TLR 4 and 6 expression in kidney sections from Stat1–/– mice compared to their littermate controls. PTCs exposed to FLCs released HMGB1, which induced TLRs 2, 4, 6 expression and downstream inflammation. Blocking FLCs’ endocytosis, Stat1 knock-down, HMGB1 inhibition, and TLR knock-down each rescued PTCs from FLC-induced injury.
Rohit Upadhyay, Wei-Zhong Ying, Zannatul Nasrin, Hana Safah, Edgar A. Jaimes, Wenguang Feng, Paul W. Sanders, Vecihi Batuman