We induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) with adenine in WT mice, mice with osteocyte-specific deletion of Cyp27b1, encoding the 25-hydroxyvitamin D 1(OH)ase [Oct-1(OH)ase–/–], and mice with global deletion of Cyp27b1 [global-1α(OH)ase–/–]; we then compared extraskeletal calcification. After adenine treatment, mice displayed increased blood urea nitrogen, decreased serum 1,25(OH)2D, and severe hyperparathyroidism. Skeletal expression of Cyp27b1 and of sclerostin and serum sclerostin all increased in WT mice but not in Oct-1α(OH)ase–/– mice or global-1α(OH)ase–/– mice. In contrast, skeletal expression of BMP2 and serum BMP2 rose in the Oct-1α(OH)ase–/– mice and in the global-1α(OH)ase–/– mice. Extraskeletal calcification occurred in muscle and blood vessels of mice with CKD and was highest in Oct-1α(OH)ase–/–mice. In vitro, recombinant sclerostin (100 ng/mL) significantly suppressed BMP2-induced osteoblastic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle A7r5 cells and diminished BMP2-induced mineralization. Our study provides evidence that local osteocytic production of 1,25(OH)2D stimulates sclerostin and inhibits BMP2 production in murine CKD, thus mitigating osteoblastic transdifferentiation and mineralization of soft tissues. Increased osteocytic 1,25(OH)2D production, triggered by renal malfunction, may represent a “primary defensive response” to protect the organism from ectopic calcification by increasing sclerostin and suppressing BMP2 production.
Loan Nguyen-Yamamoto, Ken-Ichiro Tanaka, Rene St–Arnaud, David Goltzman
African Americans develop end-stage renal disease at a higher rate compared with European Americans due to 2 polymorphisms (G1 and G2 risk variants) in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene common in people of African ancestry. Although this compelling genetic evidence provides an exciting opportunity for personalized medicine in chronic kidney disease, drug discovery efforts have been greatly hindered by the fact that APOL1 expression is lacking in rodents. Here, we describe a potentially novel physiologically relevant genomic mouse model of APOL1-associated renal disease that expresses human APOL1 from the endogenous human promoter, resulting in expression in similar tissues and at similar relative levels as humans. While naive APOL1-transgenic mice did not exhibit a renal disease phenotype, administration of IFN-γ was sufficient to robustly induce proteinuria only in APOL1 G1 mice, despite inducing kidney APOL1 expression in both G0 and G1 mice, serving as a clinically relevant “second hit.” Treatment of APOL1 G1 mice with IONIS-APOL1Rx, an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) targeting APOL1 mRNA, prior to IFN-γ challenge robustly and dose-dependently inhibited kidney and liver APOL1 expression and protected against IFN-γ–induced proteinuria, indicating that the disease-relevant cell types are sensitive to ASO treatment. Therefore, IONIS-APOL1Rx may be an effective therapeutic for APOL1 nephropathies and warrants further development.
Mariam Aghajan, Sheri L. Booten, Magnus Althage, Christopher E. Hart, Anette Ericsson, Ingela Maxvall, Joseph Ochaba, Angela Menschik-Lundin, Judith Hartleib, Steven Kuntz, Danielle Gattis, Christine Ahlström, Andrew T. Watt, Jeffery A. Engelhardt, Brett P. Monia, Maria Chiara Magnone, Shuling Guo
An imbalance of nephroprotective factors and renal damaging molecules contributes to development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated associations of renoprotective factor gene expression patterns with CKD severity and outcome. Gene expression profiles of 197 previously reported renoprotective factors were analyzed in a discovery cohort in renal biopsies of 63 CKD patients. Downregulation of dicarbonyl and L-xylulose reductase (DCXR) showed the strongest association with disease progression. This significant association was validated in an independent set of 225 patients with nephrotic syndrome from the multicenter NEPTUNE cohort. Reduced expression of DCXR was significantly associated with degree of histological damage as well as with lower estimated glomerular filtration rate and increased urinary protein levels. DCXR downregulation in CKD was confirmed in 3 publicly available transcriptomics data sets in the context of CKD. Expression of DCXR showed positive correlations to enzymes that are involved in dicarbonyl stress detoxification based on transcriptomics profiles. The sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors canagliflozin and empagliflozin showed a beneficial effect on renal proximal tubular cells under diabetic stimuli–enhanced DCXR gene expression. In summary, lower expression of the renoprotective factor DCXR in renal tissue is associated with more severe disease and worse outcome in human CKD.
Paul Perco, Wenjun Ju, Julia Kerschbaum, Johannes Leierer, Rajasree Menon, Catherine Zhu, Matthias Kretzler, Gert Mayer, Michael Rudnicki, Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE)
An incomplete understanding of the biology of the human kidney, including the relative abundances of and interactions between intrinsic and immune cells, has long constrained the development of therapies for kidney disease. The small amount of tissue obtained by renal biopsy has previously limited the ability to use patient samples for discovery purposes. Imaging mass cytometry (IMC) is an ideal technology for quantitative interrogation of scarce samples, permitting concurrent analysis of more than 40 markers on a single tissue section. Using a validated panel of metal-conjugated antibodies designed to confer unique signatures on the structural and infiltrating cells comprising the human kidney, we performed simultaneous multiplexed imaging with IMC in 23 channels on 16 histopathologically normal human samples. We devised a machine-learning pipeline (Kidney-MAPPS) to perform single-cell segmentation, phenotyping, and quantification, thus creating a spatially preserved quantitative atlas of the normal human kidney. These data define selected baseline renal cell types, respective numbers, organization, and variability. We demonstrate the utility of IMC coupled to Kidney-MAPPS to qualitatively and quantitatively distinguish individual cell types and reveal expected as well as potentially novel abnormalities in diseased versus normal tissue. Our studies define a critical baseline data set for future quantitative analysis of human kidney disease.
Nikhil Singh, Zachary M. Avigan, Judith A. Kliegel, Brian M. Shuch, Ruth R. Montgomery, Gilbert W. Moeckel, Lloyd G. Cantley
Commonly available clinical parameters fail to predict early acute cellular rejection (EAR, occurring within 6 months after transplant), a major risk factor for graft loss after kidney transplantation. We performed whole-blood RNA sequencing at the time of transplant in 235 kidney transplant recipients enrolled in a prospective cohort study (Genomics of Chronic Allograft Rejection [GoCAR]) and evaluated the relationship of pretransplant transcriptomic profiles with EAR. EAR was associated with downregulation of NK and CD8+ T cell gene signatures in pretransplant blood. We identified a 23-gene set that predicted EAR in the discovery (n = 81, and AUC = 0.80) and validation (n = 74, and AUC = 0.74) sets. Exclusion of recipients with 5 or 6 HLA donor mismatches increased the AUC to 0.89. The risk score derived from the gene set was also significantly associated with acute cellular rejection after 6 months, antibody-mediated rejection and/or de novo donor-specific antibodies, and graft loss in a cohort of 154 patients, combining the validation set and additional GoCAR patients with surveillance biopsies between 6 and 24 months (n = 80) posttransplant. This 23-gene set is a potentially important new tool for determination of the recipient’s immunological risk before kidney transplantation, and facilitation of an individualized approach to immunosuppressive therapy.
Weijia Zhang, Zhengzi Yi, Chengguo Wei, Karen L. Keung, Zeguo Sun, Caixia Xi, Christopher Woytovich, Samira Farouk, Lorenzo Gallon, Madhav C. Menon, Ciara Magee, Nader Najafian, Milagros D. Samaniego, Arjang Djamali, Stephen I. Alexander, Ivy A. Rosales, Rex Neal Smith, Philip J. O’Connell, Robert Colvin, Paolo Cravedi, Barbara Murphy
BACKGROUND Clinical diagnosis of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is challenging because of lack of a diagnostic biomarker and requires a kidney biopsy. We hypothesized that AIN is mediated by specific T cell subsets such that specific T cell cytokine levels could serve as biomarkers to distinguish AIN from other causes of acute kidney disease (AKD).METHODS We enrolled consecutive sampling participants who underwent a kidney biopsy for AKD evaluation at 2 centers between 2015 and 2018. Three pathologists independently established AIN diagnosis through review of kidney biopsies. Through univariable and multivariable analysis of 12 selected urine and plasma cytokines, we identified 2 that were diagnostic of AIN.RESULTS Of the 218 participants, 32 (15%) were diagnosed with AIN by all 3 pathologists. Participants with AIN had consistently higher levels of urine TNF-α and IL-9 than those with other diagnoses, including acute tubular injury, glomerular diseases, and diabetic kidney disease, and those without any kidney disease. As compared with participants in the lowest quartile, we noted higher odds of AIN in participants in the highest quartiles of TNF-α levels (adjusted odds ratio, 10.9 [1.8, 65.9]) and IL-9 levels (7.5 [1.2, 45.7]) when controlling for blood eosinophils, leukocyturia, and proteinuria. Addition of biomarkers improved area under receiver operating characteristic curve over clinicians’ prebiopsy diagnosis (0.84 [0.78, 0.91]) vs. 0.62 [(0.53, 0.71]) and a model of current tests (0.84 [0.76, 0.91] vs. 0.69 [0.58, 0.80]).CONCLUSIONS Inclusion of urinary TNF-α and IL-9 improves discrimination over clinicians’ prebiopsy diagnosis and currently available tests for AIN diagnosis.FUNDING Supported by NIH awards K23DK117065, T32DK007276, K24DK090203, K23DK097201, R01DK113191, UG3-DK114866, P30DK079310; the Robert E. Leet and Clara Guthrie Patterson Trust; and American Heart Association award 18CDA34060118.
Dennis G. Moledina, F. Perry Wilson, Jordan S. Pober, Mark A. Perazella, Nikhil Singh, Randy L. Luciano, Wassim Obeid, Haiqun Lin, Michael Kuperman, Gilbert W. Moeckel, Michael Kashgarian, Lloyd G. Cantley, Chirag R. Parikh
IL-17-producing CD4+ cells (TH17) are pathogenically linked to autoimmunity including to autoimmune kidney disease. Erythropoietin’s (EPO) newly recognized immunoregulatory functions and its predominant intra-renal source suggested that EPO physiologically regulates TH17 differentiation, thereby serving as a barrier to the development of autoimmune kidney disease. Using in vitro studies of human and murine cells and in vivo models, we show that EPO ligation of its receptor (EPO-R) on CD4+ T cells directly inhibits TH17 generation and promotes trans-differentiation of TH17 into IL-17-FOXP3+CD4+ T cells. Mechanistically, EPO/EPO-R ligation abrogates upregulation of SGK1 gene expression and blocks p38 activity to prevent SGK1 phosphorylation, thereby inhibiting RORC-mediated transcription of IL-17 and IL-23 receptor genes. In a murine model of TH17-dependent aristolochic acid (ArA)-induced, interstitial kidney disease associated with reduced renal EPO production, we demonstrate that transgenic EPO overexpression or recombinant EPO (rEPO) administration limits TH17 formation and clinical/histological disease expression. EPO/EPO-R ligations on CD4+ T cells abrogate, while absence of T cell-expressed EPO-R augments, TH17 induction and clinical/histological expression of pristane-induced glomerulonephritis (associated with decreased intrarenal EPO). rEPO prevents spontaneous glomerulonephritis and TH17 generation in MRL-lpr mice. Together, our findings indicate that EPO physiologically and therapeutically modulate TH17 cells to limit expression of TH17-associated autoimmune kidney disease.
Chiara Donadei, Andrea Angeletti, Chiara Cantarelli, Vivette D. D'Agati, Gaetano La Manna, Enrico Fiaccadori, Julian Horwitz, Huabao Xiong, Chiara Guglielmo, Susan Hartzell, Joren C. Madsen, Umberto Maggiore, Peter S. Heeger, Paolo Cravedi
Potassium (K+) secretion by kidney tubule cells is central to electrolyte homeostasis in mammals. In the K+ secretory “principal” cells of the distal nephron, electrogenic Na+ transport by the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) generates the electrical driving force for K+ transport across the apical membrane. Regulation of this process is attributable in part to aldosterone, which stimulates the gene transcription of the ENaC-regulatory kinase, SGK1. However, a wide range of evidence supports the conclusion that an unidentified aldosterone-independent pathway exists. We show here that in principal cells, K+ itself acts through the type 2 mTOR complex (mTORC2) to activate SGK1, which stimulates ENaC to enhance K+ excretion. The effect depends on changes in K+ concentration on the blood side of the cells, and requires basolateral membrane K+-channel activity. However, it does not depend on changes in aldosterone, or on enhanced distal delivery of Na+ from upstream nephron segments. These data strongly support the idea that K+ is sensed directly by principal cells to stimulate its own secretion by activating the mTORC2-SGK1 signaling module, and stimulate ENaC. We propose that this local effect acts in concert with aldosterone and increased Na+ delivery from upstream nephron segments to sustain K+ homeostasis.
Mads Vaarby Sørensen, Bidisha Saha, Iben Skov Jensen, Peng Wu, Niklas Ayasse, Catherine E. Gleason, Samuel Levi Svendsen, Wen-Hui Wang, David Pearce
Plasma calcium (Ca2+) is maintained by amending the release of parathyroid hormone and through direct effects of the Ca2+ sensing receptor (CaSR) in the renal tubule. Combined, these mechanisms alter intestinal Ca2+ absorption by modulating 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3 production, bone resorption, and renal Ca2+ excretion. The CaSR is a therapeutic target in the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism and hypocalcemia a common complication of calcimimetic therapy. The CaSR is also expressed in intestinal epithelium, however, a direct role in regulating local intestinal Ca2+ absorption is unknown. Chronic CaSR activation decreased expression of genes involved in Ca2+ absorption. In Ussing chambers, increasing extracellular Ca2+ or basolateral application of the calcimimetic cinacalcet decreased net Ca2+ absorption across intestinal preparations acutely. Conversely, Ca2+ absorption increased with decreasing extracellular Ca2+ concentration. These responses were absent in mice expressing a non-functional TRPV6, TRPV6D541A. Cinacalcet also attenuated Ca2+ fluxes through TRPV6 in Xenopus oocytes when co-expressed with the CaSR. Moreover, the phospholipase C inhibitor, U73122, prevented cinacalcet-mediated inhibition of Ca2+ flux. These results reveal a regulatory pathway whereby activation of the CaSR in the basolateral membrane of the intestine directly attenuates local Ca2+ absorption via TRPV6 to prevent hypercalcemia and help explain how calcimimetics induce hypocalcemia.
Justin J. Lee, Xiong Liu, Debbie O'Neil, Megan R. Beggs, Petra Weissgerber, Veit Flockerzi, Xing-Zhen Chen, Henrik Dimke, R. Todd Alexander
Chronic tubulointerstitial injury impacts the prognosis of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We found that the level of versican V1 was increased in tubular cells of FSGS patients. Tubular cell–derived versican V1 induced proliferation and collagen synthesis by activating the CD44/Smad3 pathway in fibroblasts. Both urine C3a and suPAR were increased and bound to the tubular cells in FSGS patients. C3a promoted the transcription of versican by activating the AKT/β-catenin pathway. C3aR knockout decreased the expression of versican in Adriamycin-treated (ADR-treated) mice. On the other hand, suPAR bound to integrin β6 and activated Rac1, which bound to SRp40 at the 5′ end of exon 7 in versican pre-mRNA. This binding inhibited the 3′-end splicing of intron 6 and the base-pair interactions between intron 6 and intron 8, leading to the formation of versican V1. Cotreatment with ADR and suPAR specifically increased the level of versican V1 in tubulointerstitial tissues and caused more obvious interstitial fibrosis in mice than treatment with only ADR. Altogether, our results show that C3a and suPAR drive versican V1 expression in tubular cells by promoting transcription and splicing, respectively, and the increases in tubular cell–derived versican V1 induce interstitial fibrosis by activating fibroblasts in FSGS.
Runhong Han, Shuai Hu, Weisong Qin, Jinsong Shi, Qin Hou, Xia Wang, Xiaodong Xu, Minchao Zhang, Caihong Zeng, Zhihong Liu, Hao Bao
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