[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For decades, ill-defined autosomal dominant renal diseases have been reported, which originate from tubular cells and lead to tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis. These diseases are clinically indistinguishable, but caused by mutations in at least four different genes: UMOD, HNF1B, REN, and, as recently described, MUC1. Affected family members show renal fibrosis in the biopsy and gradually declining renal function, with renal failure usually occurring between the third and sixth decade of life. Here we describe 10 families and define eligibility criteria to consider this type of inherited disease, as well as propose a practicable approach for diagnosis. In contrast to what the frequently used term 'Medullary Cystic Kidney Disease' implies, development of (medullary) cysts is neither an early nor a typical feature, as determined by MRI. In addition to Sanger and gene panel sequencing of the four genes, we established SNaPshot minisequencing for the predescribed cytosine duplication within a distinct repeat region of MUC1 causing a frameshift. A mutation was found in 7 of 9 families (3 in UMOD and 4 in MUC1), with one indeterminate (UMOD p.T62P). On the basis of clinical and pathological characteristics we propose the term 'Autosomal Dominant Tubulointerstitial Kidney Disease' as an improved terminology. This should enhance recognition and correct diagnosis of affected individuals, facilitate genetic counseling, and stimulate research into the underlying pathophysiology.Kidney International advance online publication, 26 March 2014; doi:10.1038/ki.2014.72.
Kidney International 03/2014; · 8.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The renal disorder C3 glomerulopathy with dense deposit disease (C3G-DDD) pattern results from complement dysfunction and primarily affects children and young adults. There is no effective treatment, and patients often progress to end-stage renal failure. A small fraction of C3G-DDD cases linked to factor H or C3 gene mutations as well as autoantibodies have been reported. Here, we examined an index family with 2 patients with C3G-DDD and identified a chromosomal deletion in the complement factor H-related (CFHR) gene cluster. This deletion resulted in expression of a hybrid CFHR2-CFHR5 plasma protein. The recombinant hybrid protein stabilized the C3 convertase and reduced factor H-mediated convertase decay. One patient was refractory to plasma replacement and exchange therapy, as evidenced by the hybrid protein quickly returning to pretreatment plasma levels. Subsequently, complement inhibitors were tested on serum from the patient for their ability to block activity of CFHR2-CFHR5. Soluble CR1 restored defective C3 convertase regulation; however, neither eculizumab nor tagged compstatin had any effect. Our findings provide insight into the importance of CFHR proteins for C3 convertase regulation and identify a genetic variation in the CFHR gene cluster that promotes C3G-DDD. Monitoring copy number and sequence variations in the CFHR gene cluster in C3G-DDD and kidney patients with C3G-DDD variations will help guide treatment strategies.
The Journal of clinical investigation 12/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin is a bifunctional molecule which regulates cellular division and survival. We have previously shown that survivin protein can be found at high concentrations in the adult kidney, particularly in the proximal tubules. Here, survivin is localized primarily at the apical membrane, a pattern which may indicate absorption of the protein. Several proteins in primary urine are internalised by megalin, an endocytosis receptor, which is in principle found in the same localization as survivin. Immunolabeling for survivin in different species confirmed survivin signal localising to the apical membrane of the proximal tubule. Immuno-electron microscopy also showed apical localisation of survivin in human kidneys. Furthermore, in polarised human primary tubular cells endogenous as well as external recombinant survivin stored in the apical region of the cells. Co-staining of survivin and megalin by immunohistochemistry and immuno-electron microscopy confirmed colocalization. Finally, by surface plasmon resonance we were able to demonstrate that survivin binds megalin and cubilin and that megalin knockout mice loose survivin through the urine. Survivin accumulates at the apical membrane of the renal tubule by reuptake, which is achieved by the endocytic receptor megalin, collaborating with cubilin. For this to occur, survivin will have to circulate in blood and be filtered into the primary urine. It is not known at this stage what the functional role of tubular survivin is. However, a small number of experimental and clinical reports implicate that renal survivin is important for functional integrity of the kidney.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The differential diagnosis of T cell-mediated rejection (TCMR) and BK-virus nephropathy (BKVN) in renal transplant biopsies is notoriously difficult. Therefore, attempts were made to differentiate between the two by characterizing the immune cell infiltrate. Using immunohistochemistry, the distribution of immune cell (sub)populations such as CD4(+) T helper (TH), TH1, TH2, CD8(+) cytotoxic T cells, regulatory T cells, B cells, plasma cells and follicular dendritic cells was determined in a total of 38 renal biopsy specimens. In addition, the expression of the HLA class I antigen presentation machinery (APM) components was investigated. In general, the frequency of T cells was higher than B cells, and TH cells outnumbered cytotoxic T cells with a predominance of TH2 over TH1 cells. In BKVN, a significantly higher number of plasma cells was observed (P = .028), and interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy was more pronounced in BKVN (P = .007) compared to TCMR. The expression of components of the HLA class I APM was not affected by the infection with BK virus compared to TCMR. These findings indicate a TH2 shift in renal transplants in the context of alloreactive and virus-induced inflammation maybe as a consequence of immunosuppression, which usually targets T cell reaction. The predominance of plasma cells might underline an important role of humoral immunity in BKVN. Moreover, BK virus does not seem to modulate the expression of HLA class I APM as a strategy of immune evasion.
Human pathology 03/2012; 43(9):1453-62. · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crucial steps in the initiation of lupus nephritis are the deposition of (auto-)antibodies and consequent complement activation. In spite of aggressive treatment patients may develop terminal renal failure. Therefore, new treatment strategies are needed. In extension to our previously published data we here analyzed the potential renoprotective mechanisms of bortezomib (BZ) in experimental lupus nephritis by focusing on morphological changes.
Female NZB×NZW F1 mice develop lupus-like disease with extensive nephritis that finally leads to lethal renal failure. Treatment with 0.75 mg/kg BZ i.v. or placebo (PBS) twice per week started at 18 or 24 weeks of age. Antibody production was measured with ELISA and kidney damage was determined by quantitative morphological and immunohistochemical methods.
BZ treatment completely inhibited antibody production in both BZ-treated groups and prevented the development of nephritis in comparison to PBS-treated animals. Glomerular and tubulointerstitial damage scores, collagen IV expression, mean glomerular volume as well as tubulointerstitial proliferation and apoptosis were significantly lower after BZ treatment. Glomerular ultrastructure and in particular podocyte damage and loss were prevented by BZ treatment.
BZ effectively prevents the development of nephritis in the NZB/W F1 mouse model. Specific protection of podocyte ultrastructure may critically contribute to renoprotection by BZ, which may also represent a potential new treatment option in human lupus nephritis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Hypoxia-inducible transcription Factor (HIF) represents an important adaptive mechanism under hypoxia, whereas sustained activation may also have deleterious effects. HIF activity is determined by the oxygen regulated α-subunits HIF-1α or HIF-2α. Both are regulated by oxygen dependent degradation, which is controlled by the tumor suppressor "von Hippel-Lindau" (VHL), the gatekeeper of renal tubular growth control. HIF appears to play a particular role for the kidney, where renal EPO production, organ preservation from ischemia-reperfusion injury and renal tumorigenesis are prominent examples. Whereas HIF-1α is inducible in physiological renal mouse, rat and human tubular epithelia, HIF-2α is never detected in these cells, in any species. In contrast, distinct early lesions of biallelic VHL inactivation in kidneys of the hereditary VHL syndrome show strong HIF-2α expression. Furthermore, knockout of VHL in the mouse tubular apparatus enables HIF-2α expression. Continuous transgenic expression of HIF-2α by the Ksp-Cadherin promotor leads to renal fibrosis and insufficiency, next to multiple renal cysts. In conclusion, VHL appears to specifically repress HIF-2α in renal epithelia. Unphysiological expression of HIF-2α in tubular epithelia has deleterious effects. Our data are compatible with dedifferentiation of renal epithelial cells by sustained HIF-2α expression. However, HIF-2α overexpression alone is insufficient to induce tumors. Thus, our data bear implications for renal tumorigenesis, epithelial differentiation and renal repair mechanisms.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e31034. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIF) protect cells against oxygen deprivation, and HIF stabilization before ischemia mitigates tissue injury. Because ischemic acute kidney injury (AKI) often involves the thick ascending limb (TAL), modulation of HIF in this segment may be protective. Here, we generated mice with targeted TAL deletion of the von Hippel-Lindau protein (Vhl), which mediates HIF degradation under normoxia, using Tamm-Horsfall protein (Thp)-driven Cre expression. These mice showed strong expression of HIF-1α in TALs but no changes in kidney morphology or function under control conditions. Deficiency of Vhl in the TAL markedly attenuated proximal tubular injury and preserved TAL function following ischemia-reperfusion, which may be partially a result of enhanced expression of glycolytic enzymes and lactate metabolism. These results highlight the importance of the thick ascending limb in the pathogenesis of AKI and suggest that pharmacologically targeting the HIF system may have potential to prevent and mitigate AKI.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 09/2011; 22(11):2004-15. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF1α/HIF2α) are key transcription factors that promote angiogenesis. The overexpression of degradation-resistant HIF mutants is considered a promising pro-angiogenic therapeutic tool. We compared the transcriptional activity of HIF1α/HIF2α mutants that obtained their resistance to oxygen-dependent degradation either by deletion of their entire oxygen-dependent degradation (ODD) domain or by replacement of prolyl residues that are crucial for oxygen-dependent degradation. Although all HIF mutants translocated into the nucleus, HIF1α and HIF2α mutants inclosing the point mutations were significantly more effective in trans-activating the target gene VEGF and in inducing tube formation of endothelial cells than mutants lacking the complete ODD domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The reasons for inadequate production of erythropoietin (EPO) in patients with ESRD are poorly understood. A better understanding of EPO regulation, namely oxygen-dependent hydroxylation of the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF), may enable targeted pharmacological intervention. Here, we tested the ability of fibrotic kidneys and extrarenal tissues to produce EPO. In this phase 1 study, we used an orally active prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor, FG-2216, to stabilize HIF independent of oxygen availability in 12 hemodialysis (HD) patients, six of whom were anephric, and in six healthy volunteers. FG-2216 increased plasma EPO levels 30.8-fold in HD patients with kidneys, 14.5-fold in anephric HD patients, and 12.7-fold in healthy volunteers. These data demonstrate that pharmacologic manipulation of the HIF system can stimulate endogenous EPO production. Furthermore, the data indicate that deranged oxygen sensing--not a loss of EPO production capacity--causes renal anemia.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 12/2010; 21(12):2151-6. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia-inducible protein 2 (HIG2) has been implicated in canonical Wnt signaling, both as target and activator. The potential link between hypoxia and an oncogenic signaling pathway might play a pivotal role in renal clear-cell carcinoma characterized by constitutive activation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), and hence prompted us to analyze HIG2 regulation and function in detail. HIG2 was up-regulated by hypoxia and HIF inducers in all cell types and mouse organs investigated and abundantly expressed in renal clear-cell carcinomas. Promoter analyses, gel shifts, and siRNA studies revealed that HIG2 is a direct and specific target of HIF-1, but not responsive to HIF-2. Surprisingly, HIG2 was not secreted, and HIG2 overexpression neither stimulated proliferation nor activated Wnt signaling. Instead, we show that HIG2 decorates the hemimembrane of lipid droplets, whose number and size increase on hypoxic inhibition of fatty acid β-oxidation, and colocalizes with the lipid droplet proteins adipophilin and TIP47. Normoxic overexpression of HIG2 was sufficient to increase neutral lipid deposition in HeLa cells and stimulated cytokine expression. HIG2 could be detected in atherosclerotic arteries and fatty liver disease, suggesting that this ubiquitously inducible HIF-1 target gene may play an important functional role in diseases associated with pathological lipid accumulation.
The FASEB Journal 11/2010; 24(11):4443-58. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia is a common pathogenic stress, which requires adaptive activation of the Hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF). In concert transcriptional HIF targets enhance oxygen availability and simultaneously reduce oxygen demand, enabling survival in a hypoxic microenvironment. Here, we describe the characterization of a new HIF-1 target gene, Rab20, which is a member of the Rab family of small GTP-binding proteins, regulating intracellular trafficking and vesicle formation. Rab20 is directly regulated by HIF-1, resulting in rapid upregulation of Rab20 mRNA as well as protein under hypoxia. Furthermore, exogenous as well as endogenous Rab20 protein colocalizes with mitochondria. Knockdown studies reveal that Rab20 is involved in hypoxia induced apoptosis. Since mitochondria play a key role in the control of cell death, we suggest that regulating mitochondrial homeostasis in hypoxia is a key function of Rab20. Furthermore, our study implicates that cellular transport pathways play a role in oxygen homeostasis. Hypoxia-induced Rab20 may influence tissue homeostasis and repair during and after hypoxic stress.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2010; 1813(1):1-13. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia has been shown to promote tumor metastasis and lead to therapy resistance. Recent work has demonstrated that hypoxia
represses E-cadherin expression, a hallmark of epithelial to mesenchymal transition, which is believed to amplify tumor aggressiveness.
The molecular mechanism of E-cadherin repression is unknown, yet lysyl oxidases have been implicated to be involved. Gene
expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX) and the related LOX-like 2 (LOXL2) is strongly induced by hypoxia. In addition to the previously demonstrated LOX, we characterize LOXL2 as a direct transcriptional target of HIF-1. We demonstrate that activation of lysyl oxidases is required and sufficient
for hypoxic repression of E-cadherin, which mediates cellular transformation and takes effect in cellular invasion assays.
Our data support a molecular pathway from hypoxia to cellular transformation. It includes up-regulation of HIF and subsequent
transcriptional induction of LOX and LOXL2, which repress E-cadherin and induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Lysyl oxidases could be an attractive molecular
target for cancers of epithelial origin, in particular because they are partly extracellular.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2010; 285(9):6658-6669. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia has been shown to promote tumor metastasis and lead to therapy resistance. Recent work has demonstrated that hypoxia represses E-cadherin expression, a hallmark of epithelial to mesenchymal transition, which is believed to amplify tumor aggressiveness. The molecular mechanism of E-cadherin repression is unknown, yet lysyl oxidases have been implicated to be involved. Gene expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX) and the related LOX-like 2 (LOXL2) is strongly induced by hypoxia. In addition to the previously demonstrated LOX, we characterize LOXL2 as a direct transcriptional target of HIF-1. We demonstrate that activation of lysyl oxidases is required and sufficient for hypoxic repression of E-cadherin, which mediates cellular transformation and takes effect in cellular invasion assays. Our data support a molecular pathway from hypoxia to cellular transformation. It includes up-regulation of HIF and subsequent transcriptional induction of LOX and LOXL2, which repress E-cadherin and induce epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Lysyl oxidases could be an attractive molecular target for cancers of epithelial origin, in particular because they are partly extracellular.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2009; 285(9):6658-69. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term survival of renal allografts depends on the chronic immune response and is probably influenced by the initial injury caused by ischemia and reperfusion. Hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) are essential for adaptation to low oxygen. Normoxic inactivation of HIFs is regulated by oxygen-dependent hydroxylation of specific prolyl-residues by prolyl-hydroxylases (PHDs). Pharmacological inhibition of PHDs results in HIF accumulation with subsequent activation of tissue-protective genes. We examined the effect of donor treatment with a specific PHD inhibitor (FG-4497) on graft function in the Fisher-Lewis rat model of allogenic kidney transplantation (KTx). Orthotopic transplantation of the left donor kidney was performed after 24 h of cold storage. The right kidney was removed at the time of KTx (acute model) or at day 10 (chronic model). Donor animals received a single dose of FG-4497 (40 mg/kg i.v.) or vehicle 6 h before donor nephrectomy. Recipients were followed up for 10 days (acute model) or 24 weeks (chronic model). Donor preconditioning with FG-4497 resulted in HIF accumulation and induction of HIF target genes, which persisted beyond cold storage. It reduced acute renal injury (serum creatinine at day 10: 0.66 +/- 0.20 vs. 1.49 +/- 1.36 mg/dL; P < 0.05) and early mortality in the acute model and improved long-term survival of recipient animals in the chronic model (mortality at 24 weeks: 3 of 16 vs. 7 of 13 vehicle-treated animals; P < 0.05). In conclusion, pretreatment of organ donors with FG-4497 improves short- and long-term outcomes after allogenic KTx. Inhibition of PHDs appears to be an attractive strategy for organ preservation that deserves clinical evaluation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2009; 106(50):21276-81. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inactivation of the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumour suppressor gene leading to overexpression of hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIF)-1alpha and -2alpha is a critical event in the pathogenesis of most clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCC). HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha share significant homology and regulate overlapping repertoires of hypoxia-inducible target genes but may have differing effects on RCC cell growth. Loss of HIF-1alpha expression has been described in RCC cell lines and primary tumours. Whether mutations in the alpha-subunits of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha contribute to renal tumourigenesis was investigated here.
Mutation analysis of the complete coding sequence of HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha was carried out in primary RCC (n=40).
The analysis revealed a somatic HIF1A missense substitution, p.Val116Glu, in a single RCC. Functional studies demonstrated that p.Val116Glu impaired HIF-1alpha transcriptional activity. Genotyping of HIF1A variants p.Pro582Ser and p.Ala588Thr demonstrated no significant differences between RCC patients and controls.
The detection of a loss-of-function HIF1A mutation in a primary RCC is consistent with HIF-1 and HIF-2 having different roles in renal tumourigenesis, However, somatic mutations of HIF1A are not frequently implicated in the pathogenesis of RCC.
Anticancer research 11/2009; 29(11):4337-43. · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor)-3alpha is the third member of the HIF transcription factor family. Whereas HIF-1alpha and -2alpha play critical roles in the cellular and systemic adaptation to hypoxia, little is known about the regulation and function of HIF-3alpha. At least five different splice variants may be expressed from the human HIF-3alpha locus that are suggested to exert primarily negative regulatory effects on hypoxic gene induction. In the present paper, we report that hypoxia induces the human HIF-3alpha gene at the transcriptional level in a HIF-1-dependent manner. HIF-3alpha2 and HIF-3alpha4 transcripts, the HIF-3alpha splice variants expressed in Caki-1 renal carcinoma cells, rapidly increased after exposure to hypoxia or chemical hypoxia mimetics. siRNA (small interfering RNA)-mediated HIF-alpha knockdown demonstrated that HIF-3alpha is a specific target gene of HIF-1alpha, but is not affected by HIF-2alpha knockdown. In contrast with HIF-1alpha and HIF-2alpha, HIF-3alpha is not regulated at the level of protein stability. HIF-3alpha protein could be detected under normoxia in the cytoplasm and nuclei, but increased under hypoxic conditions. Promoter analyses and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments localized a functional hypoxia-responsive element 5' to the transcriptional start of HIF-3alpha2. siRNA-mediated knockdown of HIF-3alpha increased transactivation of a HIF-driven reporter construct and mRNA expression of lysyl oxidase. Immunohistochemistry revealed an overlap of HIF-1alpha-positive and HIF-3alpha-positive areas in human renal cell carcinomas. These findings shed light on a novel aspect of HIF-3alpha as a HIF-1 target gene and point to a possible role as a modulator of hypoxic gene induction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growth and differentiation of renal tubular epithelial cells is normally tightly controlled. Disturbances can lead to the development of renal cysts or renal cell carcinomas, clinically relevant disease entities, which have so far been considered as being caused by entirely distinct mechanisms. Clear cell renal carcinoma, the most frequent type of renal cancer is associated with inactivation of the von Hippel Lindau (VHL) protein. Genetic defects leading to cystic kidney disease usually affect proteins that play a role in structure or function of primary cilia of renal epithelial cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that the VHL protein also controls cilia function and that its inactivation may result in both malignant or nonmalignant growth of epithelial cells and that this effect is in part mediated through the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factors. Unraveling the complex role of VHL in renal epithelial cells is likely to shed further insight into mechanism of epithelial growth control, epithelial-mesenchymal transformation, and tumor development.
Journal of Molecular Medicine 08/2009; 87(9):871-7. · 4.77 Impact Factor