Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have pleiotropic properties beyond blood glucose–lowering effects and modify important nonglycemic pathways, leading to end-organ protection. SGLT2 inhibitors display renoprotective effects in diabetic kidney disease, which creates a rationale for testing the therapeutic potential of this drug class in nondiabetic chronic kidney disease. Here, we have shown that dapagliflozin provided glomerular protection in mice with protein-overload proteinuria induced by bovine serum albumin (BSA), to a similar extent as an ACE inhibitor used as standard therapy for comparison. Dapagliflozin limited proteinuria, glomerular lesions, and podocyte dysfunction and loss. We provide the observation that SGLT2 was expressed in podocytes and upregulated after BSA injections. Through in vitro studies with cultured podocytes loaded with albumin we have identified what we believe to be a novel mechanism of action for SGLT2 inhibitor that directly targets podocytes and relies on the maintenance of actin cytoskeleton architecture. Whether SGLT2 inhibitors represent a possible future therapeutic option for some patients with proteinuric glomerular disease who do not have as yet an effective treatment will require ad hoc clinical studies.
Paola Cassis, Monica Locatelli, Domenico Cerullo, Daniela Corna, Simona Buelli, Cristina Zanchi, Sebastian Villa, Marina Morigi, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Ariela Benigni, Carlamaria Zoja
Different nephron tubule segments perform distinct physiological functions, collectively acting as a blood filtration unit. Dysfunction of the proximal tubule segment can lead to Fanconi renotubular syndrome (FRTS), with major symptoms such as excess excretion of water, glucose, and phosphate in the urine. It has been shown that a mutation in HNF4A is associated with FRTS in humans and that Hnf4a is expressed specifically in proximal tubules in adult rat nephrons. However, little is known about the role of Hnf4a in nephrogenesis. Here, we found that Hnf4a is expressed in both presumptive and differentiated proximal tubules in the developing mouse kidney. We show that Hnf4a is required for the formation of differentiated proximal tubules but is dispensable for the formation of presumptive proximal tubules. Furthermore, we show that loss of Hnf4a decreased the expression of proximal tubule–specific genes. Adult Hnf4a mutant mice presented with FRTS-like symptoms, including polyuria, polydipsia, glycosuria, and phosphaturia. Analysis of the adult Hnf4a mutant kidney also showed proximal tubule dysgenesis and nephrocalcinosis. Our results demonstrate the critical role of Hnf4a in proximal tubule development and provide mechanistic insight into the etiology of FRTS.
Sierra S. Marable, Eunah Chung, Mike Adam, S. Steven Potter, Joo-Seop Park
BACKGROUND. The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing worldwide. The identification of factors contributing to its progression is important for designing preventive measures. Previous studies have suggested that chronically high vasopressin is deleterious to renal function. Here, we evaluated the association of plasma copeptin, a surrogate of vasopressin, with the incidence of CKD in the general population. METHODS. We studied 3 European cohorts: DESIR (n = 5,047; France), MDCS-CC (n = 3,643; Sweden), and PREVEND (n = 7,684; the Netherlands). Median follow-up was 8.5, 16.5, and 11.3 years, respectively. Pooled data were analyzed at an individual level for 4 endpoints during follow-up: incidence of stage 3 CKD (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2); the KDIGO criterion “certain drop in eGFR”; rapid kidney function decline (eGFR slope steeper than –3 ml/min/1.73 m2/yr); and incidence of microalbuminuria. RESULTS. The upper tertile of plasma copeptin was significantly and independently associated with a 49% higher risk for stage 3 CKD (P < 0.0001); a 64% higher risk for kidney function decline, as defined by the KDIGO criterion (P < 0.0001); a 79% higher risk for rapid kidney function decline (P < 0.0001); and a 24% higher risk for microalbuminuria (P = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS. High copeptin levels are associated with the development and the progression of CKD in the general population. Intervention studies are needed to assess the potential beneficial effect on kidney health in the general population of reducing vasopressin secretion or action. FUNDING. INSERM and Danone Research Centre for Specialized Nutrition.
Ray El Boustany, Irina Tasevska, Esther Meijer, Lyanne M. Kieneker, Sofia Enhörning, Guillaume Lefèvre, Kamel Mohammedi, Michel Marre, Frédéric Fumeron, Beverley Balkau, Nadine Bouby, Lise Bankir, Stephan J.L. Bakker, Ronan Roussel, Olle Melander, Ron T. Gansevoort, Gilberto Velho
The contribution of the kidney-draining lymph node (KLN) to the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) of the kidney and its subsequent recovery has not been explored in depth. In addition, the mechanism by which repetitive IRI contributes to renal fibrosis remains poorly understood. Herein, we have found that IRI of the kidney is associated with expansion of high endothelial venules (HEVs) and activation of fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) in the KLN, as demonstrated by significant expansion in the extracellular matrix. The lymphotoxin α signaling pathway mediates activation of FRCs, and chronic treatment with lymphotoxin β receptor–immunoglobulin fusion protein (LTβr-Ig) resulted in marked alteration of the KLN as well as augmentation of renal fibrosis. Depletion of FRCs reduced T cell activation in the KLN and ameliorated renal injury in acute IRI. Repetitive renal IRI was associated with senescence of FRCs, fibrosis of the KLN, and renal scarring, which were ameliorated by FRC administration. Therefore, our study emphasizes the critical role of FRCs in both the initiation and repair phases of injury following IRI of the kidney.
Omar H. Maarouf, Mayuko Uehara, Vivek Kasinath, Zhabiz Solhjou, Naima Banouni, Baharak Bahmani, Liwei Jiang, Osman A. Yilmam, Indira Guleria, Scott B. Lovitch, Jane L. Grogan, Paolo Fiorina, Peter T. Sage, Jonathan S. Bromberg, Martina M. McGrath, Reza Abdi
Pathologic glomerular epithelial cell (GEC) hyperplasia is characteristic of both rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) and subtypes of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Although initial podocyte injury resulting in activation of STAT3 signals GEC proliferation in both diseases, mechanisms regulating this are unknown. Here, we show that the loss of Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), a zinc-finger transcription factor, enhances GEC proliferation in both RPGN and FSGS due to dysregulated STAT3 signaling. We observed that podocyte-specific knockdown of Klf4 (C57BL/6J) increased STAT3 signaling and exacerbated crescent formation after nephrotoxic serum treatment. Interestingly, podocyte-specific knockdown of Klf4 in the FVB/N background alone was sufficient to activate STAT3 signaling, resulting in FSGS with extracapillary proliferation, as well as renal failure and reduced survival. In cultured podocytes, loss of KLF4 resulted in STAT3 activation and cell-cycle reentry, leading to mitotic catastrophe. This triggered IL-6 release into the supernatant, which activated STAT3 signaling in parietal epithelial cells. Conversely, either restoration of KLF4 expression or inhibition of STAT3 signaling improved survival in KLF4-knockdown podocytes. Finally, human kidney biopsy specimens with RPGN exhibited reduced KLF4 expression with a concomitant increase in phospho-STAT3 expression as compared with controls. Collectively, these results suggest the essential role of KLF4/STAT3 signaling in podocyte injury and its regulation of aberrant GEC proliferation.
Chelsea C. Estrada, Praharshasai Paladugu, Yiqing Guo, Jesse Pace, Monica P. Revelo, David J. Salant, Stuart J. Shankland, Vivette D. D’Agati, Anita Mehrotra, Stephanie Cardona, Agnieszka B. Bialkowska, Vincent W. Yang, John C. He, Sandeep K. Mallipattu
Sepsis causes acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill patients, although the pathophysiology remains unclear. The receptor-interacting protein kinase-3 (RIPK3), a cardinal regulator of necroptosis, has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of human disease. In mice subjected to polymicrobial sepsis, we demonstrate that RIPK3 promotes sepsis-induced AKI. Utilizing genetic deletion and biochemical approaches in vitro and in vivo, we identify a potentially novel pathway by which RIPK3 aggravates kidney tubular injury independently of the classical mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein–dependent (MLKL-dependent) necroptosis pathway. In kidney tubular epithelial cells, we show that RIPK3 promotes oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction involving upregulation of NADPH oxidase-4 (NOX4) and inhibition of mitochondrial complex I and –III, and that RIPK3 and NOX4 are critical for kidney tubular injury in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrate that RIPK3 is required for increased mitochondrial translocation of NOX4 in response to proinflammatory stimuli, by a mechanism involving protein-protein interactions. Finally, we observed elevated urinary and plasma RIPK3 levels in human patients with sepsis-induced AKI, representing potential markers of this condition. In conclusion, we identify a pathway by which RIPK3 promotes kidney tubular injury via mitochondrial dysfunction, independently of MLKL, which may represent a promising therapeutic target in sepsis-induced AKI.
Angara Sureshbabu, Edwin Patino, Kevin C. Ma, Kristian Laursen, Eli J. Finkelsztein, Oleh Akchurin, Thangamani Muthukumar, Stefan W. Ryter, Lorraine Gudas, Augustine M. K. Choi, Mary E. Choi
Extensive kidney fibrosis occurs in several types of chronic kidney diseases. PBI-4050, a potentially novel first-in-class orally active low–molecular weight compound, has antifibrotic and antiinflammatory properties. We examined whether PBI-4050 affected the progression of diabetic nephropathy (DN) in a mouse model of accelerated type 2 diabetes and in a model of selective tubulointerstitial fibrosis. eNOS–/– db/db mice were treated with PBI-4050 from 8–20 weeks of age (early treatment) or from 16–24 weeks of age (late treatment). PBI-4050 treatment ameliorated the fasting hyperglycemia and abnormal glucose tolerance tests seen in vehicle-treated mice. In addition, PBI-4050 preserved (early treatment) or restored (late treatment) blood insulin levels and increased autophagy in islets. PBI-4050 treatment led to significant improvements in lifespan in the diabetic mice. Both early and late PBI-4050 treatment protected against progression of DN, as indicated by reduced histological glomerular injury and albuminuria, slow decline of glomerular filtration rate, and loss of podocytes. PBI-4050 inhibited kidney macrophage infiltration, oxidative stress, and TGF-β–mediated fibrotic signaling pathways, and it also protected against the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis. To confirm a direct antiinflammatory/antifibrotic effect in the kidney, further studies with a nondiabetic model of EGFR-mediated proximal tubule activation confirmed that PBI-4050 dramatically decreased the development of the associated tubulointerstitial injury and macrophage infiltration. These studies suggest that PBI-4050 attenuates development of DN in type 2 diabetes through improvement of glycemic control and inhibition of renal TGF-β–mediated fibrotic pathways, in association with decreases in macrophage infiltration and oxidative stress.
Yan Li, Sungjin Chung, Zhilian Li, Jessica M. Overstreet, Lyne Gagnon, Brigitte Grouix, Martin Leduc, Pierre Laurin, Ming-Zhi Zhang, Raymond C. Harris
Fibrosis is the common final pathway of virtually all chronic injury to the kidney. While it is well accepted that myofibroblasts are the scar-producing cells in the kidney, their cellular origin is still hotly debated. The relative contribution of proximal tubular epithelium and circulating cells, including mesenchymal stem cells, macrophages, and fibrocytes, to the myofibroblast pool remains highly controversial. Using inducible genetic fate tracing of proximal tubular epithelium, we confirm that the proximal tubule does not contribute to the myofibroblast pool. However, in parabiosis models in which one parabiont is genetically labeled and the other is unlabeled and undergoes kidney fibrosis, we demonstrate that a small fraction of genetically labeled renal myofibroblasts derive from the circulation. Single-cell RNA sequencing confirms this finding but indicates that these cells are circulating monocytes, express few extracellular matrix or other myofibroblast genes, and express many proinflammatory cytokines. We conclude that this small circulating myofibroblast progenitor population contributes to renal fibrosis by paracrine rather than direct mechanisms.
Rafael Kramann, Flavia Machado, Haojia Wu, Tetsuro Kusaba, Konrad Hoeft, Rebekka K. Schneider, Benjamin D. Humphreys
Alport syndrome is a rare hereditary renal disorder with no etiologic therapy. We found that osteopontin (OPN) is highly expressed in the renal tubules of the Alport mouse and plays a causative pathological role. OPN genetic deletion ameliorated albuminuria, hypertension, tubulointerstitial proliferation, renal apoptosis, and hearing and visual deficits in the Alport mouse. In Alport renal tubules we found extensive cholesterol accumulation and increased protein expression of dynamin-3 (DNM3) and LDL receptor (LDLR) in addition to dysmorphic mitochondria with defective bioenergetics. Increased pathological cholesterol influx was confirmed by a remarkably increased uptake of injected DiI-LDL cholesterol by Alport renal tubules, and by the improved lifespan of the Alport mice when crossed with the Ldlr–/– mice with defective cholesterol influx. Moreover, OPN-deficient Alport mice demonstrated significant reduction of DNM3 and LDLR expression. In human renal epithelial cells, overexpressing DNM3 resulted in elevated LDLR protein expression and defective mitochondrial respiration. Our results suggest a potentially new pathway in Alport pathology where tubular OPN causes DNM3- and LDLR-mediated enhanced cholesterol influx and impaired mitochondrial respiration.
Wen Ding, Keyvan Yousefi, Stefania Goncalves, Bradley J. Goldstein, Alfonso L. Sabater, Amy Kloosterboer, Portia Ritter, Guerline Lambert, Armando J. Mendez, Lina A. Shehadeh
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) can be caused by mutations in the PKD1 or PKD2 genes. The PKD1 gene product is a Wnt cell-surface receptor. We previously showed that a lack of the PKD2 gene product, PC2, increases β-catenin signaling in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, kidney renal epithelia, and isolated renal collecting duct cells. However, it remains unclear whether β-catenin signaling plays a role in polycystic kidney disease phenotypes or if a Wnt inhibitor can halt cyst formation in ADPKD disease models. Here, using genetic and pharmacologic approaches, we demonstrated that the elevated β-catenin signaling caused by PC2 deficiency contributes significantly to disease phenotypes in a mouse ortholog of human ADPKD. Pharmacologically inhibiting β-catenin stability or the production of mature Wnt protein, or genetically reducing the expression of Ctnnb1 (which encodes β-catenin), suppressed the formation of renal cysts, improved renal function, and extended survival in ADPKD mice. Our study clearly demonstrates the importance of β-catenin signaling in disease phenotypes associated with Pkd2 mutation. It also describes the effects of two Wnt inhibitors, XAV939 and LGK974, on various Wnt signaling targets as a potential therapeutic modality for ADPKD, for which there is currently no effective therapy.
Ao Li, Yuchen Xu, Song Fan, Jialin Meng, Xufeng Shen, Qian Xiao, Yuan Li, Li Zhang, Xiansheng Zhang, Guanqing Wu, Chaozhao Liang, Dianqing Wu
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