Conventional histologic diagnosis of rejection in kidney transplants has limited repeatability due to its inherent requirement for subjective assessment of lesions, in a rule-based system that does not acknowledge diagnostic uncertainty. Molecular phenotyping affords opportunities for increased precision and improved disease classification to address the limitations of conventional histologic diagnostic systems and quantify levels of uncertainty. Microarray data from 1,208 kidney transplant biopsies were collected prospectively from 13 centers. Cross-validated classifier scores predicting the presence of antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR), T cell–mediated rejection (TCMR), and 5 related histologic lesions were generated using supervised machine learning methods. These scores were used as input for archetypal analysis, an unsupervised method similar to cluster analysis, to examine the distribution of molecular phenotypes related to rejection. Six archetypes were generated: no rejection, TCMR, 3 associated with ABMR (early-stage, fully developed, and late-stage), and mixed rejection (TCMR plus early-stage ABMR). Each biopsy was assigned 6 scores, one for each archetype, representing a probabilistic assessment of that biopsy based on its rejection-related molecular properties. Viewed as clusters, the archetypes were similar to existing histologic Banff categories, but there was 32% disagreement, much of it probably reflecting the “noise” in the current histologic assessment system. Graft survival was lowest for fully developed and late-stage ABMR, and it was better predicted by molecular archetype scores than histologic diagnoses. The results provide a system for precision molecular assessment of biopsies and a new standard for recalibrating conventional diagnostic systems.
Jeff Reeve, Georg A. Böhmig, Farsad Eskandary, Gunilla Einecke, Carmen Lefaucheur, Alexandre Loupy, Philip F. Halloran, the MMDx-Kidney study group
During renal branching morphogenesis, ureteric bud tip cells (UBTC) serve as the progenitor epithelium for all cell types of the collecting duct. While the transcriptional circuitry of ureteric bud (UB) branching has been intensively studied, the transcriptional control of UBTC differentiation has been difficult to ascertain. This is partly due to limited knowledge of UBTC-specific transcription factors that mark the progenitor state. Here, we identify the transcription factor p63 (also known as TP63), a master regulator of basal stem cells in stratified epithelia, as a specific marker of mouse and human UBTC. Nuclear p63 marks Ret+ UBTC transiently and is silenced by the end of nephrogenesis. Lineage tracing revealed that a subset of UBTC expressing the ΔNp63 isoform (N-terminus truncated p63) is dedicated to generating cortical intercalated cells. Germline targeting of
Samir S. El-Dahr, Yuwen Li, Jiao Liu, Elleny Gutierrez, Kathleen S. Hering-Smith, Sabina Signoretti, Jean-Christophe Pignon, Satrajit Sinha, Zubaida Saifudeen
Lupus nephritis is a leading cause of mortality among systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, and its heterogeneous nature poses a significant challenge to the development of effective diagnostics and treatments. Single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) offers a potential solution to dissect the heterogeneity of the disease and enables the study of similar cell types distant from the site of renal injury to identify novel biomarkers. We applied scRNA-seq to human renal and skin biopsy tissues and demonstrated that scRNA-seq can be performed on samples obtained during routine care. Chronicity index, IgG deposition, and quantity of proteinuria correlated with a transcriptomic-based score composed of IFN-inducible genes in renal tubular cells. Furthermore, analysis of cumulative expression profiles of single cell keratinocytes dissociated from nonlesional, non–sun-exposed skin of patients with lupus nephritis also revealed upregulation of IFN-inducible genes compared with keratinocytes isolated from healthy controls. This indicates the possible use of scRNA-seq analysis of skin biopsies as a biomarker of renal disease. These data support the potential utility of scRNA-seq to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis and pave the way for exploiting a readily accessible tissue to reflect injury in the kidney.
Evan Der, Saritha Ranabothu, Hemant Suryawanshi, Kemal M. Akat, Robert Clancy, Pavel Morozov, Manjunath Kustagi, Mareike Czuppa, Peter Izmirly, H. Michael Belmont, Tao Wang, Nicole Jordan, Nicole Bornkamp, Janet Nwaukoni, July Martinez, Beatrice Goilav, Jill P. Buyon, Thomas Tuschl, Chaim Putterman
Secreted modular calcium-binding protein 2 (SMOC2) belongs to the secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) family of matricellular proteins whose members are known to modulate cell-matrix interactions. We report that SMOC2 is upregulated in the kidney tubular epithelial cells of mice and humans following fibrosis. Using genetically manipulated mice with SMOC2 overexpression or knockdown, we show that SMOC2 is critically involved in the progression of kidney fibrosis. Mechanistically, we found that SMOC2 activates a fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition (FMT) to stimulate stress fiber formation, proliferation, migration, and extracellular matrix production. Furthermore, we demonstrate that targeting SMOC2 by siRNA results in attenuation of TGFβ1-mediated FMT in vitro and an amelioration of kidney fibrosis in mice. These findings implicate that SMOC2 is a key signaling molecule in the pathological secretome of a damaged kidney and targeting SMOC2 offers a therapeutic strategy for inhibiting FMT-mediated kidney fibrosis — an unmet medical need.
Casimiro Gerarduzzi, Ramya K. Kumar, Priyanka Trivedi, Amrendra K. Ajay, Ashwin Iyer, Sarah Boswell, John N. Hutchinson, Sushrut S. Waikar, Vishal S. Vaidya
The renal collecting duct (CD), as the terminal segment of the nephron, is responsible for the final adjustments to the amount of sodium excreted in urine. While angiotensin II modulates reabsorptive functions of the CD, the contribution of these actions to physiological homeostasis is not clear. To examine this question, we generated mice with cell-specific deletion of AT1A receptors from the CD. Elimination of AT1A receptors from both principal and intercalated cells (CDKO mice) had no effect on blood pressures at baseline or during successive feeding of low- or high-salt diets. In contrast, the severity of hypertension caused by chronic infusion of angiotensin II was paradoxically exaggerated in CDKO mice compared with controls. In wild-type mice, angiotensin II induced robust expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in renal medulla, primarily localized to intercalated cells. Upregulation of COX-2 was diminished in CDKO mice, resulting in reduced generation of vasodilator prostanoids. This impaired expression of COX-2 has physiological consequences, since administration of a specific COX-2 inhibitor to CDKO and control mice during angiotensin II infusion equalized their blood pressures. Stimulation of COX-2 was also triggered by exposure of isolated preparations of medullary CDs to angiotensin II. Deletion of AT1A receptors from principal cells alone did not affect angiotensin II–dependent COX2 stimulation, implicating intercalated cells as the main source of COX2 in this setting. These findings suggest a novel paracrine role for the intercalated cell to attenuate the severity of hypertension. Strategies for preserving or augmenting this pathway may have value for improving the management of hypertension.
Johannes Stegbauer, Daian Chen, Marcela Herrera, Matthew A. Sparks, Ting Yang, Eva Königshausen, Susan B. Gurley, Thomas M. Coffman
The neonatal mouse kidney retains nephron progenitor cells in a nephrogenic zone for 3 days after birth. We evaluated whether de novo nephrogenesis can be induced postnatally beyond 3 days. Given the long-term implications of nephron number for kidney health, it would be useful to enhance nephrogenesis in the neonate. We induced nephron reduction by cryoinjury with or without contralateral nephrectomy during the neonatal period or after 1 week of age. There was no detectable compensatory de novo nephrogenesis, as determined by glomerular counting and lineage tracing. Contralateral nephrectomy resulted in additional adaptive healing, with little or no fibrosis, but did not also stimulate de novo nephrogenesis. In contrast, injury initiated at 1 week of age led to healing with fibrosis. Thus, despite the presence of progenitor cells and ongoing nephron maturation in the newborn mouse kidney, de novo nephrogenesis is not inducible by acute nephron reduction. This indicates that additional nephron progenitors cannot be recruited after birth despite partial renal ablation providing a reparative stimulus and suggests that nephron number in the mouse is predetermined at birth.
Florian Tögel, M. Todd Valerius, Benjamin S. Freedman, Rossella Latrino, Mor Grinstein, Joseph V. Bonventre
Craig Balmforth, Job J.M.H. van Bragt, Titia Ruijs, James R. Cameron, Robert Kimmitt, Rebecca Moorhouse, Alicja Czopek, May Khei Hu, Peter J. Gallacher, James W. Dear, Shyamanga Borooah, Iain M. MacIntyre, Tom M.C. Pearson, Laura Willox, Dinesh Talwar, Muriel Tafflet, Christophe Roubeix, Florian Sennlaub, Siddharthan Chandran, Baljean Dhillon, David J. Webb, Neeraj Dhaun
The repulsive guidance cue SLIT2 and its receptor ROBO2 are required for kidney development and podocyte foot process structure, but the SLIT2/ROBO2 signaling mechanism regulating podocyte function is not known. Here we report that a potentially novel signaling pathway consisting of SLIT/ROBO Rho GTPase activating protein 1 (SRGAP1) and nonmuscle myosin IIA (NMIIA) regulates podocyte adhesion downstream of ROBO2. We found that the myosin II regulatory light chain (MRLC), a subunit of NMIIA, interacts directly with SRGAP1 and forms a complex with ROBO2/SRGAP1/NMIIA in the presence of SLIT2. Immunostaining demonstrated that SRGAP1 is a podocyte protein and is colocalized with ROBO2 on the basal surface of podocytes. In addition, SLIT2 stimulation inhibits NMIIA activity, decreases focal adhesion formation, and reduces podocyte attachment to collagen. In vivo studies further showed that podocyte-specific knockout of
Xueping Fan, Hongying Yang, Sudhir Kumar, Kathleen E. Tumelty, Anna Pisarek-Horowitz, Hila Milo Rasouly, Richa Sharma, Stefanie Chan, Edyta Tyminski, Michael Shamashkin, Mostafa Belghasem, Joel M. Henderson, Anthony J. Coyle, David J. Salant, Stephen P. Berasi, Weining Lu
To derive new insights in diabetic complications, we integrated publicly available human protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks with global metabolic networks using metabolomic data from patients with diabetic nephropathy. We focused on the participating proteins in the network that were computationally predicted to connect the urine metabolites.
Rintaro Saito, Anaïs Rocanin-Arjo, Young-Hyun You, Manjula Darshi, Benjamin Van Espen, Satoshi Miyamoto, Jessica Pham, Minya Pu, Simone Romoli, Loki Natarajan, Wenjun Ju, Matthias Kretzler, Robert Nelson, Keiichiro Ono, Dana Thomasova, Shrikant R. Mulay, Trey Ideker, Vivette D’Agati, Ergin Beyret, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Hans Joachim Anders, Kumar Sharma
Diabetes is associated with altered cellular metabolism, but how altered metabolism contributes to the development of diabetic complications is unknown. We used the BKS
Kelli M. Sas, Pradeep Kayampilly, Jaeman Byun, Viji Nair, Lucy M. Hinder, Junguk Hur, Hongyu Zhang, Chengmao Lin, Nathan R. Qi, George Michailidis, Per-Henrik Groop, Robert G. Nelson, Manjula Darshi, Kumar Sharma, Jeffrey R. Schelling, John R. Sedor, Rodica Pop-Busui, Joel M. Weinberg, Scott A. Soleimanpour, Steven F. Abcouwer, Thomas W. Gardner, Charles F. Burant, Eva L. Feldman, Matthias Kretzler, Frank C. Brosius III, Subramaniam Pennathur
Kidney fibrosis following kidney injury is an unresolved health problem and causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. In a study into its molecular mechanism, we identified essential causative features. Acute or chronic kidney injury causes sustained elevation of a disintegrin and metalloprotease 17 (ADAM17); of its cleavage-activated proligand substrates, in particular of pro-TNFα and the EGFR ligand amphiregulin (pro-AREG); and of the substrates’ receptors. As a consequence, EGFR is persistently activated and triggers the synthesis and release of proinflammatory and profibrotic factors, resulting in macrophage/neutrophil ingress and fibrosis. ADAM17 hypomorphic mice, specific ADAM17 inhibitor–treated WT mice, or mice with inducible KO of ADAM17 in proximal tubule (Slc34a1-Cre) were significantly protected against these effects. In vitro, in proximal tubule cells, we show that AREG has unique profibrotic actions that are potentiated by TNFα-induced AREG cleavage. In vivo, in acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD, fibrosis) patients, soluble AREG is indeed highly upregulated in human urine, and both ADAM17 and AREG expression show strong positive correlation with fibrosis markers in related kidney biopsies. Our results indicate that targeting of the ADAM17 pathway represents a therapeutic target for human kidney fibrosis.
Eirini Kefaloyianni, Muthu Lakshmi Muthu, Jakob Kaeppler, Xiaoming Sun, Venkata Sabbisetti, Athena Chalaris, Stefan Rose-John, Eitan Wong, Irit Sagi, Sushrut S. Waikar, Helmut Rennke, Benjamin D. Humphreys, Joseph V. Bonventre, Andreas Herrlich
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common clinical condition defined as a rapid decline in kidney function. AKI is a global health burden, estimated to cause 2 million deaths annually worldwide. Unlike AKI in the young, which is reversible, AKI in the elderly often leads to end-stage renal disease, and the mechanism that prevents kidney repair in the elderly is unclear. Here we demonstrate that aged but not young mice developed multiple tertiary lymphoid tissues (TLTs) in the kidney after AKI. TLT size was associated with impaired renal function and increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and homeostatic chemokines, indicating a possible contribution of TLTs to sustained inflammation after injury. Notably, resident fibroblasts from a single lineage diversified into p75 neurotrophin receptor+ (p75NTR+) fibroblasts and homeostatic chemokine–producing fibroblasts inside TLTs, and retinoic acid–producing fibroblasts around TLTs. Deletion of CD4+ cells as well as late administration of dexamethasone abolished TLTs and improved renal outcomes. Importantly, aged but not young human kidneys also formed TLTs that had cellular and molecular components similar to those of mouse TLTs. Therefore, the inhibition of TLT formation may offer a novel therapeutic strategy for AKI in the elderly.
Yuki Sato, Akiko Mii, Yoko Hamazaki, Harumi Fujita, Hirosuke Nakata, Kyoko Masuda, Shingo Nishiyama, Shinsuke Shibuya, Hironori Haga, Osamu Ogawa, Akira Shimizu, Shuh Narumiya, Tsuneyasu Kaisho, Makoto Arita, Masashi Yanagisawa, Masayuki Miyasaka, Kumar Sharma, Nagahiro Minato, Hiroshi Kawamoto, Motoko Yanagita
Urine concentration is regulated by vasopressin. Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is caused by vasopressin type 2 receptor (V2R) mutations. We studied whether metformin could improve urine concentration in rodent models of congenital NDI by stimulating AMPK. To block the V2R in rats, tolvaptan (10 mg/kg/d) was given by oral gavage with or without metformin (800 mg/kg/d). Control rats received vehicle with or without metformin. Tamoxifen-induced V2R KO mice were given metformin (600 mg/kg) or vehicle twice daily. Urine osmolality in tolvaptan-treated rats (1,303 ± 126 mOsM) was restored to control levels by metformin (2,335 ± 273 mOsM) within 3 days and was sustained for up to 10 days. Metformin increased protein abundance of inner medullary urea transporter UT-A1 by 61% and aquaporin 2 (AQP2) by 44% in tolvaptan-treated rats, and immunohistochemistry showed increased membrane accumulation of AQP2 with acute and chronic AMPK stimulation. Outer medullary Na+-K+-2Cl– cotransporter 2 (NKCC2) abundance increased (117%) with AMPK stimulation in control rats but not in V2R-blocked rats. Metformin increased V2R KO mouse urine osmolality within 3 hours, and the increase persisted for up to 12 hours. Metformin increased AQP2 in the V2R KO mice similar to the tolvaptan-treated rats. These results indicate that AMPK activators, such as metformin, might provide a promising treatment for congenital NDI.
Orhan Efe, Janet D. Klein, Lauren M. LaRocque, Huiwen Ren, Jeff M. Sands
Vertebrate life critically depends on renal filtration and excretion of low molecular weight waste products. This process is controlled by a specialized cell-cell contact between podocyte foot processes: the slit diaphragm (SD). Using a comprehensive set of targeted KO mice of key SD molecules, we provided genetic, functional, and high-resolution ultrastructural data highlighting a concept of a flexible, dynamic, and multilayered architecture of the SD. Our data indicate that the mammalian SD is composed of NEPHRIN and NEPH1 molecules, while NEPH2 and NEPH3 do not participate in podocyte intercellular junction formation. Unexpectedly, homo- and heteromeric NEPHRIN/NEPH1 complexes are rarely observed. Instead, single NEPH1 molecules appear to form the lower part of the junction close to the glomerular basement membrane with a width of 23 nm, while single NEPHRIN molecules form an adjacent junction more apically with a width of 45 nm. In both cases, the molecules are quasiperiodically spaced 7 nm apart. These structural findings, in combination with the flexibility inherent to the repetitive Ig folds of NEPHRIN and NEPH1, indicate that the SD likely represents a highly dynamic cell-cell contact that forms an adjustable, nonclogging barrier within the renal filtration apparatus.
Florian Grahammer, Christoph Wigge, Christoph Schell, Oliver Kretz, Jaakko Patrakka, Simon Schneider, Martin Klose, Sebastian J. Arnold, Anja Habermann, Ricarda Bräuniger, Markus M. Rinschen, Linus Völker, Andreas Bregenzer, Dennis Rubbenstroth, Melanie Boerries, Dontscho Kerjaschki, Jeffrey H. Miner, Gerd Walz, Thomas Benzing, Alessia Fornoni, Achilleas S. Frangakis, Tobias B. Huber
Dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) deficiency increases renal inflammation and blood pressure in mice. We show here that long-term renal-selective silencing of
Prasad R. Konkalmatt, Laureano D. Asico, Yanrong Zhang, Yu Yang, Cinthia Drachenberg, Xiaoxu Zheng, Fei Han, Pedro A. Jose, Ines Armando
Victor Gura, Matthew B. Rivara, Scott Bieber, Raj Munshi, Nancy Colobong Smith, Lori Linke, John Kundzins, Masoud Beizai, Carlos Ezon, Larry Kessler, Jonathan Himmelfarb
BACKGROUND. Kidney function decreases with age. A potential mechanistic explanation for kidney and allograft half-life has evolved through the realization that linear reduction in glomerular podocyte density could drive progressive glomerulosclerosis to impact both native kidney and allograft half-lives.
METHODS. Predictions from podometrics (quantitation of podocyte parameters) were tested using independent pathologic, functional, and outcome data for native kidneys and allografts derived from published reports and large registries.
RESULTS. With age, native kidneys exponentially develop glomerulosclerosis, reduced renal function, and end-stage kidney disease, projecting a finite average kidney life span. The slope of allograft failure rate versus age parallels that of reduction in podocyte density versus age. Quantitative modeling projects allograft half-life at any donor age, and rate of podocyte detachment parallels the observed allograft loss rate.
CONCLUSION. Native kidneys are designed to have a limited average life span of about 100–140 years. Allografts undergo an accelerated aging-like process that accounts for their unexpectedly short half-life (about 15 years), the observation that older donor age is associated with shorter allograft half-life, and the fact that long-term allograft survival has not substantially improved. Podometrics provides potential readouts for these processes, thereby offering new approaches for monitoring and intervention.
FUNDING: National Institutes of Health.
Abhijit S. Naik, Farsad Afshinnia, Diane Cibrik, Jeffrey B. Hodgin, Fan Wu, Min Zhang, Masao Kikuchi, Larysa Wickman, Milagros Samaniego, Markus Bitzer, Jocelyn E. Wiggins, Akinlolu Ojo, Yi Li, Roger C. Wiggins
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
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
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