Nephron Experimental Nephrology (NEPHRON EXP NEPHROL)
Nephron Experimental Nephrology is a subjournal of Nephron with its own citation and index. Formerly a journal in its own right called 'Experimental Nephrology', Nephron Experimental Nephrology specialises in the publication of high-quality, original research and reviews in the area of renal cell and developmental biology and functional genomics. The emphasis is on the normal biology of the kidney in vivo and in vitro as well as on the impact of disease on biological processes. Nephron Experimental Nephrology is of relevance to adult and paediatric nephrologists, as well as those interested in the scientific basis of the affiliated fields of histopathology, genetics, urology, transplantation and fetal medicine. Scientists working in the fields of developmental molecular biology and immunology will also find Nephron Experimental Nephrology of interest.
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Other titlesExperimental nephrology
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Publications in this journal
Article: Expression of the Transmembrane Lysosomal Protein SCARB2/Limp-2 in Renin Secretory Granules Controls Renin Release.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Renin processing and storage is believed to occur in lysosome-like structures in the afferent arteriole. SCARB2/Limp-2 is a transmembrane lysosomal protein responsible for the intracellular trafficking of β-glucocerebrosidase. This study aimed to confirm the expression of SCARB2/Limp-2 in renin secretory granules, and explore its role in renin processing and secretion. Methods: Co-localisation studies of (pro)renin with lysosomal membrane proteins, SCARB2/Limp-2, LAMP-1 and LAMP-2, were performed in mouse and human kidney sections. Intrarenal expression and secretion of (pro)renin in wild-type (WT) and Limp-2(-/-) mice were compared with and without stimulation. Results: SCARB2/Limp-2, LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 co-localised with (pro)- renin in mouse and human kidney. Plasma renin concentration was increased in Limp-2(-/-) mice when compared to WT littermates. No change in (pro)renin expression, however, was observed in Limp-2(-/-) mouse kidney cortex by immunofluorescence microscopy, Western blotting, quantitative RT-PCR or the ultrastructural appearance of renin secretory granules. Acute stimulation of renin release by isoprenaline or hydralazine was similar in WT and Limp-2(-/-) mice. Following chronic salt restriction, however, immunofluorescence microscopy showed less (pro)renin expressed in Limp-2(-/-) compared with WT mouse kidneys, and there was significantly less prorenin but not renin by Western blotting in Limp-2(-/-) mouse kidney cortex, despite no difference in circulating renin levels. Conclusion: Renin secretory granules possess integral lysosomal proteins, confirming that they are indeed modified lysosomes. Limp-2 deficiency leads to a minor increase in circulating renin. Limp-2, however, is not required for acute or chronic stimulation of renin release.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 04/2013; 122(3-4):103-113.
Article: Renin Angiotensin Antagonists Normalize Aberrant Activation of Epithelial Sodium Channels in Sodium-Sensitive Hypertension.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) are ion transporters in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron that play an important role in sodium reabsorption in the terminal nephron. Our study of inbred C57Bl6/J mice given a high-sodium diet showed increased ENaC expression accompanied by tubular renin activation on qRT-PCR of laser-captured tubule specimens and Western blotting of membrane proteins, despite inhibition of aldosterone. Treatment with an angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) effectively lowered blood pressure. In addition to lowering blood pressure, ACEI and ARB inhibition downregulated ENaC and renin expression in renal tubules. These effects would act to suppress sodium reabsorption via ENaC and normalize molecular mechanisms that elevate blood pressure in response to increased salt intake.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 04/2013; 122(3-4):95-102.
Article: Renoprotective Effect of Pioglitazone by the Prevention of Glomerular Hyperfiltration through the Possible Restoration of Altered Macula Densa Signaling in Rats with Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Pioglitazone (PGZ), one of the thiazolidinediones, has been known to show renoprotective effects. In this study, we focused on the effect of PGZ on glomerular hyperfiltration (GHF), resultant glomerular injury and altered macula densa signaling as a cause of sustained GHF through modified tubuloglomerular feedback in rats with diabetic nephropathy. Methods: Kidneys from 24-week-old male OLETF rats and LET rats, nondiabetic controls, were used for the experiment. PGZ was administered (10 mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 2 weeks from 22 to 24 weeks of age in some of the OLETF rats (OLETF+PGZ). Results: Parameters relating GHF, kidney weight, creatinine clearance, urine albumin/creatinine ratio and glomerular surface were all increased in OLETF rats and partially restored in OLETF+PGZ rats. Expressions of desmin and TGF-β were also increased in OLETF rats and restored in OLETF+PGZ rats. The changes in TGF-β expression were confirmed to be independent of podocyte number. Finally, the immunoreactivity of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in the macula densa was assessed for the evaluation of macula densa signaling. Altered intensities of nNOS and COX-2 in OLETF rats were restored in OLETF+PGZ rats, which agreed with the gene expression analysis (nNOS: 100.2 ± 2.9% in LET, 64.2 ± 2.7% in OLETF, 87.4 ± 12.1% in OLETF+PGZ; COX-2: 100.8 ± 7.4% in LET, 249.2 ± 19.4% in OLETF, 179.9 ± 13.5% in OLETF+PGZ; n = 5) and the semiquantitative analysis of nNOS/COX-2-positive cells. Conclusion: PGZ effectively attenuated the GHF and hyperfiltration-associated glomerular injury in diabetic nephropathy. The restoration of altered macula densa signaling might be involved in the renoprotective effect of PGZ.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(3-4):83-94.
Article: The Calcimimetic Calindol Prevents High Phosphate-Induced Vascular Calcification by Upregulating Matrix GLA Protein.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: High serum phosphate (Pi) levels represent a major issue in dialysis patients, because associate with secondary hyperparathyroidism, vascular calcification (VC), and cardiovascular outcomes. In this population, calcimimetics are used to control secondary hyperparathyroidism, hyperphosphatemia, and, more recently, to delay the progression of VC. The aim of this in vitro study was to investigate the direct effects of the calcimimetic calindol on the progression of high Pi-induced VC. Methods: Rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were incubated with high Pi concentrations, and the effects of calindol were investigated on vascular calcium deposition and VSMC osteoblastic differentiation. Results: Calindol inhibited calcium deposition concentration-dependently with a maximal inhibition of 64.0 ± 5.2% achieved at 100 nM. Furthermore, calindol was able to partially prevent the high Pi-induced bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP-2) expression upregulation (32.4 ± 4.6% of inhibition; p < 0.01). Interestingly, the pretreatment with calindol enhanced the matrix Gla protein (MGP) gene expression significantly, compared to high Pi-treated cells (40.2 ± 6.6% of increase, p < 0.01). Conclusions: In conclusion, we demonstrated that the calcimimetic calindol prevents high Pi-induced VC by affecting osteoblastic differentiation in vitro. In particular, the inhibitory effect of calindol on VC is probably due to its stimulatory role on the calcium-sensing receptor, leading to an increase in the synthesis of MGP by VSMCs.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(3-4):75-82.
Article: Small Interfering RNA Targeting Toll-Like Receptor 9 Protects Mice against Polymicrobial Septic Acute Kidney Injury.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Although recent reports suggest that Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 is associated with the pathogenesis of polymicrobial septic acute kidney injury (AKI), it is still unclear whether and how renal TLR9 is involved in the development of polymicrobial septic AKI. This study aimed to determine whether the expression of TLR9 in mouse renal cells is related to the development of polymicrobial septic AKI. Methods: The efficacy of small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting TLR9 was tested in a cultured murine macrophage cell line (RAW264.7 cells). The most potent siRNA was transfected into mice using the hydrodynamic method prior to the induction of polymicrobial septic AKI being induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). TLR9 knockdown was determined by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting in RAW264.7 cells and kidney tissues. The levels of serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and the renal histopathology assessment were determined at 6-, 12-, and 24-hour time points after CLP, and renal cell apoptosis was studied at 24 h. The 4- and 7-day survival rates of mice were also observed. Results: We found that mice developed AKI in our model of polymicrobial sepsis, despite fluid and antibiotic resuscitation, which resembles human sepsis. siRNA to TLR9 successfully silenced the induction of renal TLR9 gene and protein expression following CLP. Effective silencing of renal TLR9 expression decreased renal cell apoptosis, mitigated the severity of AKI, and increased the survival of mice. Conclusions: Our data demonstrates the induction of TLR9 expression in mouse kidney tissue following CLP. Renal cell apoptosis and AKI in our model of polymicrobial sepsis are dependent on TLR9. Thus, TLR9 may play a critical role in the pathophysiology of polymicrobial septic AKI.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(1-2):51-61.
Article: Vitamin D Receptor Activators Upregulate and Rescue Podocalyxin Expression in High Glucose-Treated Human Podocytes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: Vitamin D is beneficial in human and experimental chronic kidney disease, the leading cause of which is diabetic nephropathy. Vitamin D through its receptor, VDR, provides renal protection in diabetic nephropathy, but limited data exist about its effect on podocytes. Renal podocytes form the main filtration barrier possessing a unique phenotype maintained by proteins including podocalyxin and nephrin, the expression of which is suppressed in pathological conditions. Methods: We used immortalized human podocytes (human glomerular epithelial cells, HGEC) to assess podocalyxin and nephrin expression after treatment with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol) and its analogue paricalcitol. The involvement of VDR was investigated by silencing with hVDR-siRNA and ChIP analysis. Results: HGEC exhibit high glucose-mediated downregulation of podocalyxin and nephrin, loss of which has been linked with loss of the permselective renal barrier and proteinuria. Calcitriol and paricalcitol reversed high glucose-induced decrease of nephrin and significantly enhanced podocalyxin expression in podocytes cultured in high glucose. HGEC express VDR and retinoid X receptor (RXR). In the presence of calcitriol and paricalcitol, VDR expression was upregulated and VDR colocalized with RXR in the nucleus. VDR knockdown abolished the protective action of calcitriol and paricalcitol on podocalyxin expression indicating that podocalyxin activation of expression is partly mediated by VDR. Furthermore, VDR specifically regulates podocalyxin expression by bounding to a site upstream of the podocalyxin promoter. Conclusion: Vitamin D analogues maintain and, furthermore, re-activate the expression of specialized components of podocytes including podocalyxin, hence they provide protection against loss of the permselective renal barrier, with molecular mechanisms elucidated herein.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(1-2):36-50.
Article: Gremlin Is a Downstream Profibrotic Mediator of Transforming Growth Factor-Beta in Cultured Renal Cells.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Chronic kidney disease is characterized by accumulation of extracellular matrix in the tubulointerstitial area. Fibroblasts are the main matrix-producing cells. One source of activated fibroblasts is the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). In cultured tubular epithelial cells, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β1) induced Gremlin production associated with EMT phenotypic changes, and therefore Gremlin has been proposed as a downstream TGF-β1 mediator. Gremlin is a developmental gene upregulated in chronic kidney diseases associated with matrix accumulation, but its direct role in the modulation of renal fibrosis and its relation with TGF-β has not been investigated. Methods: Murine renal fibroblasts and human tubular epithelial cells were studied. Renal fibrosis was determined by evaluation of key profibrotic factors, extracellular matrix proteins (ECM) and EMT markers by Western blot/confocal microscopy or real-time PCR. Endogenous Gremlin was targeted with small interfering RNA. Results: In murine fibroblasts, stimulation with recombinant Gremlin upregulated profibrotic genes, such as TGF-β1, and augmented the production of ECM proteins, including type I collagen. The blockade of endogenous Gremlin with small interfering RNA inhibited TGF-β1-induced ECM upregulation. In tubular epithelial cells Gremlin also increased profibrotic genes and caused EMT changes: phenotypic modulation to myofibroblast-like morphology, loss of epithelial markers and in-duction of mesenchymal markers. Moreover, Gremlin gene silencing inhibited TGF-β1-induced EMT changes. Conclusions: Gremlin directly activates profibrotic events in cul-tured renal fibroblasts and tubular epithelial cells. Moreover, endogenous Gremlin blockade inhibited TGF-β-mediated matrix production and EMT, suggesting that Gremlin could be a novel therapeutic target for renal fibrosis.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(1-2):62-74.
Article: Role of Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 in Recovery after Tubular Damage in Acute Kidney Injury in Mice.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc endopeptidases that degrade extracellular matrix and are involved in the pathogenesis of ischemic damage in acute kidney injury (AKI). In the present study, we analyzed the role of MMP-2 in the repair process in ischemic AKI. Methods: AKI was induced in MMP-2 wild-type (MMP-2(+/+)) and MMP-2-deficient (MMP-2(-/-)) mice by 90-min renal artery clamping followed by reperfusion. Renal histology and the activity and distribution of MMP-2 were examined from day 1 to day 14. During the recovery from AKI, MMP-2(+/+) mice were also treated with MMP-2/MMP-9 inhibitor. Results: In both MMP-2(+/+) and MMP-2(-/-) mice, AKI developed on day 1 after ischemia/reperfusion with widespread acute tubular injury, but subsequent epithelial cell proliferation was evident on days 3-7. During the repair process, active MMP-2 and MMP-9 increased in regenerating tubular epithelial cells in MMP-2(+/+) mice on days 7-14, and the tubular repair process was almost complete by day 14. On the other hand, in MMP-2(-/-) mice, less prominent proliferation of tubular epithelial cells was evident on days 3 and 7, and damaged tubules that were covered with elongated and immature regenerated epithelial cells were identified on days 7 and 14. Incomplete recovery of injured microvasculature was also noted with persistent macrophage infiltration. Similarly, treatment with MMP-2/MMP-9 inhibitor resulted in impaired recovery in MMP-2(+/+) mice. Conclusion: MMP-2 is involved in tubular repair after AKI. The use of the MMP-2/MMP-9 inhibitor was a disadvantage when it was administered during the repair stage of ischemic AKI. Treatment with MMP inhibitor for AKI needs to be modified to enhance recovery from AKI.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 03/2013; 122(1-2):23-35.
Article: Glomerular Repair Retardation via Blocking of Angiotensin II Type 1a Receptor Pathway in a Mouse Glomerulonephritis Model.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: To examine the role of the angiotensin II (ATII) type 1a receptor (AT1-R) pathway in renal tissue damage and repair, we investigated reversible glomerular injury in a mouse model of habu snake venom (HSV)-induced glomerulonephritis using AT1-R-deficient (AT1a-/-) mice and AT1-R antagonist-treated mice. Methods: Experimental glomerulonephritis was induced by single administration of HSV to AT1a+/+ mice (HSV group) and AT1a-/- mice (KO-HSV group) and AT1-R antagonist-treated BL6 mice (HSV-ARB group). Morphological change and expression levels of type IV collagen, CD31, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were analyzed. Results: The HSV group showed increased mesangial matrix expansion on day 7, which returned to preinjection levels by day 56, while mes-angial matrix expansion and increased type IV collagen expression were seen throughout days 7 to 56 in the KO-HSV group. The KO-HSV group showed fewer CD31-positive capillary loops and a marked decrease in the number of VEGF-positive cells in the glomeruli than the HSV group. VEGF administration to the KO-HSV group facilitated glomerular capillary repair and reconstruction. The HSV-ARB group showed the same delay in glomerular repair as that seen in the KO-HSV group. Conclusion: Our results indicate that blocking of the ATII-AT1R pathway delays glomerular repair via angiogenesis inhibition, followed by reduced induction of VEGF.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 02/2013; 122(1-2):13-22.
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ABSTRACT: Cyclosporine (CsA) nephrotoxicity shows characteristic tubular vacuolization (TV) which is endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in origin. However, the cellular events of CsA-induced TV and CsA-induced ER remained unclear. The aim of the present study was to study the nature of TV and the correlation to ER stress. Using proximal tubule NRK-52E cells in vitro and an in vivo model of acute CsA nephrotoxicity, we confirmed that CsA-induced TV was ER in origin and potentially reversible. Our results showed that CsA-induced ER stress and involved ER integrated stress response-related proteins (Bip/Grp78, ATF6, IRE1 and CHOP) but not cytoplasmic ER stress-related chaperones (HSP70, HSP40, HSP27, HSP90 and HSP60). Importantly, Bip/Grp78 was overexpressed on the membrane of TV and suppression of Bip/Grp78 blocked TV formation. In addition, suppression of Bip/Grp78-enhanced CsA-induced cell death and CsA-induced TV formation and Bip/Grp78 overexpression had a characteristic striped pattern in the tubulointerstitium. In summary, we demonstrate that CsA-induced TV was a potentially reversible process in which Bip/Grp78 overexpression is essential for TV formation. It is possible that Bip/Grp78 expression and TV formation may be involved in cellular defense mechanism against CsA nephrotoxicity.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 02/2013; 122(1-2):1-12.
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ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Telmisartan, an angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker, is widely used to treat hypertension and kidney diseases, including diabetic nephropathy, because of its renoprotective effects. However, the mechanism by which telmisartan prevents proteinuria and renal dysfunction in diabetic nephropathy is still unclear. In this study, we examined the effects of telmisartan against diabetic nephropathy in db/db mice. Methods: Telmisartan was administered at a dose of 5 mg/kg/day for 3 weeks to db/db (diabetic) and db/m (control) mice. Urinary albumin excretion, renal histology, and the gene expression of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in renal tissue were determined. To evaluate the effects of telmisartan on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, superoxide was detected by dihydroethidium (DHE) staining in vivo and in vitro. Results: Telmisartan reduced albuminuria, mesangial matrix expansion, macrophage infiltration, and the expression of ROS markers (NADPH oxidase 4- and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine) and inflammatory cytokines (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, osteopontin, and transforming growth factor-β) in the kidney. DHE staining showed that telmisartan decreased ROS generation in the kidney and in cultured mesangial and proximal tubular epithelial cells. Conclusions: Taken together, these findings indicate that telmisartan protects against diabetic nephropathy by reducing diabetes-induced oxidative stress.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 01/2013; 121(3-4):e97-e108.
Article: Reducing Serum Uric Acid Attenuates TGF-β(1)-Induced Profibrogenic Progression in Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: The pivotal role of transforming growth factor-β(1) (TGF-β(1))-induced tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the progression of chronic kidney disease is an active topic of research. Recent evidence indicates that hyperuricemia is associated with increased TGF-β(1) and progressive tubulointerstitial injury. We examined the hypothesis that lowering serum uric acid attenuates TGF-β(1)-induced profibrogenic tubular change in type 2 diabetic nephropathy. Methods: KK-A(y)/Ta mice, an animal model of type 2 diabetes, were provided access to either regular drinking water or drinking water containing 10 mg/dl of allopurinol. Normal rat kidney epithelial cells were cultured and stimulated with 5 mM uric acid with or without allopurinol. Results: Type 2 diabetic mice that received allopurinol exhibited smaller increases in urinary albumin:creatinine ratio than diabetic control mice, as well as attenuated TGF-β(1) and Smad pathway-induced profibrogenic tubular changes in diabetic kidneys. Allopurinol attenuated TGF-β(1)-induced Smad pathway activation in tubular cells. These findings were related to increases in E-cadherin, and decreases in vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin. Uric acid-induced upregulation of TGF-β(1) depends on mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that reducing serum uric acid has preventive effects against to profibrogenic progression in type 2 diabetic kidney disease. These findings suggest that lowering serum uric acid may be an effective therapeutic intervention to prevent the progression of type 2 diabetic kidney disease.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 01/2013; 121(3-4):e108-e120.
Article: Podocytes Express IL-6 and Lipocalin 2/ Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin in Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Glomerular Injury.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Acute kidney injury (AKI) contributes to significant morbidity and mortality in the intensive care unit (ICU). Plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-6 predict the development of AKI and are associated with higher mortality in ICU patients with AKI. Most studies in AKI have focused on the tubulo-interstitium, despite evidence of glomerular involvement. In the following study, our goals were to investigate the expression of IL-6 and its downstream mediators in septic-induced AKI. Methods: Podocytes were treated in vitro with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and mice were treated with LPS, and we evaluated IL-6 expression by real-time PCR, ELISA and in situ RNA hybridization. Results: Following LPS stimulation, IL-6 is rapidly and highly induced in cultured podocytes and in vivo in glomeruli and infiltrating leukocytes. Surprisingly, in direct response to exogenous IL-6, podocytes produce lipocalin-2/neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (Lcn2/Ngal). LPS also potently induces Lcn2/Ngal expression in podocytes in culture and in glomeruli in vivo. Intense Lcn2/Ngal expression is also observed in IL-6 knockout mice, suggesting that while IL-6 may be sufficient to induce glomerular Lcn2/Ngal expression, it is not essential. Conclusions: The glomerulus is involved in septic AKI, and we demonstrate that podocytes secrete key mediators of AKI including IL-6 and Lcn2/Ngal.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 12/2012; 121(3-4):e86-e96.
Article: Uric Acid-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction Is Associated with Mitochondrial Alterations and Decreased Intracellular ATP Concentrations.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations. We hypothesized that uric acid (UA), which can induce endothelial dysfunction in vitro and in vivo, might also alter mitochondrial function. Methods: Human aortic endothelial cells were exposed to soluble UA and measurements of oxidative stress, nitric oxide, mitochondrial density, ATP production, aconitase-2 and enoyl Co-A hydratase-1 expressions, and aconitase-2 activity in isolated mitochondria were determined. The effect of hyperuricemia induced by uricase inhibition in rats on renal mitochondrial integrity was also assessed. Results: UA-induced endothelial dysfunction was associated with reduced mitochondrial mass and ATP production. UA also decreased aconitase-2 activity and lowered enoyl CoA hydratase-1 expression. Hyperuricemic rats showed increased mitDNA damage in association with higher levels of intrarenal UA and oxidative stress. Conclusions: UA-induced endothelial dysfunction is associated with mitochondrial alterations and decreased intracellular ATP. These studies provide additional evidence for a deleterious effect of UA on vascular function that could be important in the pathogenesis of hypertension and vascular disease.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 12/2012; 121(3-4):e71-e78.
Article: An Improved Method of Renal Tissue Engineering, by Combining Renal Dissociation and Reaggregation with a Low-Volume Culture Technique, Results in Development of Engineered Kidneys Complete with Loops of Henle.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: Tissue engineering of functional kidney tissue is an important goal for clinical restoration of renal function in patients damaged by infectious, toxicological, or genetic disease. One promising approach is the use of the self-organizing abilities of embryonic kidney cells to arrange themselves, from a simply reaggregated cell suspension, into engineered organs similar to fetal kidneys. The previous state-of-the-art method for this results in the formation of a branched collecting duct tree, immature nephrons (S-shaped bodies) beside and connected to it, and supportive stroma. It does not, though, result in the significant formation of morphologically detectable loops of Henle - anatomical features of the nephron that are critical to physiological function. Methods: We have combined the best existing technique for renal tissue engineering from cell suspensions with a low-volume culture technique that allows intact kidney rudiments to make loops of Henle to test whether engineered kidneys can produce these loops. Results: The result is the formation of loops of Henle in engineered cultured 'fetal kidneys', very similar in both morphology and in number to those formed by intact organ rudiments. Conclusion: This brings the engineering technique one important step closer to production of a fully realistic organ.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 12/2012; 121(3-4):e79-e85.
Article: Toll-Like Receptor 4 in Experimental Kidney Transplantation: Early Mediator of Endogenous Danger Signals.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The role of toll-like receptors (TLRs) has been described in the pathogenesis of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury, but data on the expression and function of TLR4 during renal allograft damage are still scarce. We analyzed the expression of TLR4 in an experimental rat model 6 and 28 days after allogeneic kidney transplantation in comparison to control rats and rats after syngeneic transplantation. On day 6, a significant induction in TLR4 expression - restricted to the glomerular compartment - was found in acute rejecting allografts only. TLR4 expression strongly correlated with renal function, and TLR4 induction was accompanied by a significant increase in CC chemokine expression within the graft as well as in urinary CC chemokine excretion. TLR4 induction may be caused by an influx of macrophages as well as TLR4-expressing intrinsic renal cells. Fibrinogen deposition in renal allografts correlated with renal TLR4 expression and may act as a potent stimulator of chemokine release via TLR4 activation. This study provides, for the first time, data about the precise intrarenal localization and TLR4 induction after experimental kidney transplantation. It supports the hypothesis that local TLR4 activation by endogenous ligands may be one pathological link from unspecific primary allograft damage to subsequent chemokine release, infiltration and activation of immune cells leading to deterioration of renal function and induction of renal fibrosis.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 11/2012; 121(3-4):e59-e70.
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ABSTRACT: Background: Intracellular calcium (Ca(2+)) plays an important role in normal renal physiology and in the pathogenesis of various kidney diseases; however, the study of Ca(2+) signals in intact tissue has been limited by technical difficulties, including achieving adequate loading of Ca(2+)-sensitive fluorescent dyes. The kidney slice preparation represents a model whereby three-dimensional tissue architecture is preserved and structures in both the cortex and medulla can be imaged using confocal or multiphoton microscopy. Methods: Ca(2+)-sensitive dyes Rhod-2, Fura-red and Fluo-4 were loaded into tubular and vascular cells in rat kidney slices using a re-circulating perfusion system and real-time imaging of Ca(2+) signals was recorded by confocal microscopy. Kidney slices were also obtained from transgenic mice expressing the GCaMP2 Ca(2+)-sensor in their endothelial cells and real time Ca(2+) transients stimulated by physiological stimuli. Results: Wide spread loading of Ca(2+) indicators was achieved in the tubular and vascular structures of both the medulla and cortex. Real time Ca(2+) signals were successfully recorded in different intracellular compartments of both rat and mouse cortical and medullary tubules in response to physiological stimuli (ATP and angiotensin II). Glomerular Ca(2+) transients were similarly recorded in kidney slices taken from the transgenic mouse expressing the GCaMP2 Ca(2+)-sensor. Conclusion: We present new approaches that can be adopted to image cytosolic and mitochondrial Ca(2+) signals within various cell types in intact kidney tissue. Moreover, techniques described in this study can be used to facilitate future detailed investigations of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis in renal health and disease.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 11/2012; 121(1):e49-e58.
Article: Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibits Albumin-Induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Apoptosis through Inhibition of Reactive Oxygen Species.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress induced by urinary albumin plays an important role in tubulointerstitial injury. We have shown that albumin-induced ER stress is regulated through reactive oxygen species (ROS)-c-Src kinase-mTOR signaling pathways. We postulated that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) might also act as an upstream signaling molecule between c-Src kinase and mTOR. It has been suggested that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is involved in attenuation of ER stress. We examined whether and how activation of AMPK suppressed the albumin-induced ER stress and apoptosis in tubular epithelial cells. Method: HK-2 cells, a proximal tubular cell line, were used. Protein expressions were measured by Western blot analysis. Intracellular ROS and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. Results: Albumin-induced PPAR-γ expression and PPAR-γ inhibitor (GW9662) suppressed the albumin-induced ER stress. c-Src kinase inhibitor and GW9662 reduced the albumin-induced PPAR-γ and mTOR, respectively. Metformin (the best known clinical activator of AMPK) and another AMPK activator (AICAR) suppressed the albumin-induced ER stress via inhibition of ROS through induction of endogenous antioxidant thioredoxin. AMPK inhibitor blocked the effect of metformin and AICAR. Our in vivo animal study showed that metformin reduced the renal cortical expression of ER stress protein (GRP78) in protein-overload proteinuria rats. Metformin also reduced the caspase 3-dependent apoptosis induced by albumin. Conclusion: PPAR-γ was involved in albumin-induced ER stress as an upstream signaling molecule between c-Src kinase and mTOR. AMPK activation might be beneficial in attenuating the tubulointerstitial injury induced by albumin.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 10/2012; 121(1):e38-e48.
Article: Retinoids Augment the Expression of Podocyte Proteins by Glomerular Parietal Epithelial Cells in Experimental Glomerular Disease.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: A decrease in glomerular podocyte number in membranous nephropathy and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) ultimately underlines glomerulosclerosis and the decrease in kidney function. Recent studies have shown that in these diseases, glomerular parietal epithelial cells begin to express proteins considered unique to podocytes, and that these glomerular epithelial transition cells might serve as podocyte progenitors. Because retinoids improve many forms of experimental glomerular disease characterized by podocyte injury and loss, we asked if all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) induces parietal epithelial cells to express podocyte proteins. Methods: ATRA or vehicle was administered to rats with experimental membranous nephropathy (passive Heymann nephritis model) and mice with experimental FSGS (anti-glomerular antibody model) following the onset of proteinuria. Immunohistochemistry staining of PAX2 (parietal epithelial cell marker), WT-1 (podocyte cell marker), and Ki-67 (proliferation marker) were performed on kidney tissues. Results: Compared to diseased animals receiving vehicle, ATRA statistically significantly increased the number of glomerular transition cells, defined as cells double-staining for PAX2 and WT-1, in membranous nephropathy at weeks 2, 5 and 16, and in FSGS at weeks 1 and 2. This was accompanied by an increase in the number of podocytes compared to diseased controls receiving vehicle. Conclusion: ATRA increases the number of glomerular epithelial transition cells in experimental proteinuric glomerular diseases. Thus, ATRA may provide a useful pharmacologic approach to decipher the mechanisms underlying the possible progenitor role of parietal epithelial cells.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 10/2012; 121(1):e23-e37.
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ABSTRACT: Aim: The goal of this study was to examine the capacity for glomerular repair after a podocyte-depleting injury. Methods: We created transgenic (TG) mice expressing the yeast enzyme cytosine deaminase specifically in glomerular podocytes. In these TG animals, the prodrug 5-flucytosine (5-FC) is converted to 5-fluorouracil and promotes cell death. Results: Treatment with increasing dosages of 5-FC caused graded increases in proteinuria 1-2 weeks after treatment, which returned to control levels by the 10-week time point. Light microscopic examination revealed minimal pathology at the 2-week time point, but electron microscopy revealed found foot process effacement as well as focal areas of glomerular basement membrane duplication, and immunohistochemical studies detected podocyte apoptosis and a decrease in the number of Wilms' tumor protein 1 (WT1)-positive cells. By the 10-week time point, however, the number of WT1-positive cells was similar to controls and a few mice had developed focal areas of glomerulosclerosis. Consistent with the effects of 5-FC on podocyte number, expression of the podocyte mRNAs for nephrin, podocin, synaptopodin and podocalyxin were altered in a similar temporal fashion. Conclusion: The glomerulus has a significant capacity for repair after a podocyte-depleting injury.Nephron Experimental Nephrology 10/2012; 121(1):e10-e22.
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