Akihiro Shimizu

The Jikei University School of Medicine, Edo, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (7)31.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background The number of elderly patients with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is increasing in parallel with the increased longevity in the general population. However, information is limited regarding the characteristics of such patients. Methods IgAN patients who were ≥60 years of age at diagnosis were retrospectively analyzed. The clinicopathological features at biopsy, therapies during the follow-up period, renal outcomes and extrarenal complications were evaluated. Results The characteristics of a total of 87 patients were as follows (mean values): 65 years of age, an eGFR of 47 mL/min/1.73 m2, and urinary protein excretion (UPE) of 1.9 g/day. In the initial 1-year follow-up period, UPE decreased from 2.4 to 0.4 g/day in patients treated with corticosteroids and 1.4 to 0.8 g/day in patients treated with conservative therapies, including renin–angiotensin system blockade. During the observation period, 26 % of the patients who received corticosteroids and 38 % of the patients treated with conservative therapies showed a ≥30 % decrease in their eGFR or reached end-stage renal disease. In the analysis of all patients, UPE at 1 year after the diagnosis was identified to be an independent predictor of the subsequent loss of renal function. However, neither corticosteroid therapy nor conservative therapies was identified to be an independent valuable. There was no significant difference in the incidence of the extrarenal complications between patients treated with corticosteroids and those with conservative therapies. Conclusion In elderly IgAN patients, the reduction of proteinuria by therapeutic interventions may lead to better renal outcomes without causing severe extrarenal complications.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Clinical and Experimental Nephrology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: In patients with IgA nephropathy (IgAN), recurrence after steroid pulse therapy is associated with reduced renal survival. However, the predictors of recurrence have not yet been clarified. Methods: All patients who received 6-month steroid pulse therapy from 2004 to 2010 in our four affiliated hospitals and achieved a reduction of proteinuria to <0.4 g/day 1 year after treatment were retrospectively evaluated. The primary outcome was proteinuria ≥1.0 g/day during follow-up or additional antiproteinuric therapy. Two histological classifications were evaluated, the Oxford Classification with a split system and Japanese histological grades (HGs) with a lumped system. Results: During a median follow-up of 3.4 years, 27 (26.7 %) of the 101 patients showed recurrence. Multivariate analysis showed that HG was the only significant predictor of recurrence, with HG 2+3+4 vs HG 1 having a hazard ratio of 7.38 (95 % confidence interval 1.52-133). Furthermore, in patients with mesangial hypercellularity according to the Oxford Classification, cumulative rate of recurrence-free survival was greater in patients with steroid therapy plus tonsillectomy compared with those who received steroid therapy alone (Log-rank test, P = 0.022). However, this association was not observed in patients without mesangial hypercellularity. Conclusions: HG is a novel predictor of recurrence after steroid pulse therapy in patients with IgAN. Moreover, the combination of steroid pulse therapy plus tonsillectomy may indicate a lower risk of recurrence in patients with mesangial hypercellularity, as defined by the Oxford Classification.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Clinical and Experimental Nephrology
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    ABSTRACT: Previous autopsy studies suggested that a reduced nephron number is associated with increased risk of hypertension and chronic kidney disease. However, the significance of the nephron number estimated from a renal biopsy in patients with hypertensive nephrosclerosis (HNS) has not yet been elucidated. In this cross-sectional study, we examined the clinicopathological findings of biopsy-proven HNS patients with preserved renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥ 60ml/min/1.73 m(2)). The glomerular density (GD; the number of glomeruli per total renal cortical area) in biopsy specimens was evaluated as a surrogate of the nephron number. Renal biopsies from kidney transplant donors were used as healthy controls. A total of 58 HNS patients were enrolled. The GD value in the HNS patients was low compared with those in the kidney transplant donors (2.0 vs. 3.2 /mm(2)). These differences remained significant when globally sclerotic glomeruli were included in the calculation of the GD. Of note, the GD in HNS patients with overt proteinuria (≥1g/day) was significantly lower than that of HNS patients with mild proteinuria (<1g/day; 1.8 vs. 2.2/mm(2), P = 0.014). In contrast, other histopathological parameters, including the severity of global glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis/tubular atrophy and arterial and arteriole lesions were comparable between the 2 HNS subgroups. In addition, the GD was identified as a factor that was associated with the amount of urinary protein excretion at biopsy, independent of other clinicopathological factors. These results suggest that a low GD is a renal histological characteristic of HNS patients, especially those with overt proteinuria. © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd 2015. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · American Journal of Hypertension
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    ABSTRACT: NFE2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a master regulatory transcription factor for antioxidant genes. Inhibition of its adaptor protein, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), activates Nrf2. Podocyte injury triggers the progressive deterioration of glomerular damage toward glomerulosclerosis. We examined whether modulation of the Keap1-Nrf2 system has an impact on this process. Nrf2 null-mutant (KO) and Keap1 hypomorphic knockdown (KD) mice were crossed with NEP25 mice, in which podocyte-specific injury can be induced by an immunotoxin. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine and phosphorylated JNK were increased in the injured NEP25 kidney. Real-time PCR revealed that Keap1 KD upregulated Nrf2 target genes, including Gclc, Gclm, Gstp1, Gstp2 and Nqo1 in the glomerulus. However, podocyte injury did not upregulate these genes in Keap1 wild-type mice, nor did it further increase the expression of those genes in Keap1 KD mice. Three weeks after the induction of podocyte injury, glomerulosclerosis was considerably more attenuated in Keap1 KD mice than in control mice (median sclerosis index, 0.27 versus 3.03, on a 0-4 scale). Keap1 KD mice also showed considerably preserved nephrin staining (median index, 6.76 versus 0.91, on a 0-8 scale) and decreased glomeruli containing desmin-positive injured podocytes (median percentage, 24.5% versus 85.8%), along with a decrease in mRNAs for Fn1, Tgfb1, Col4a4 and Col1a2. Thus, podocyte injury cannot effectively activate Nrf2, but Nrf2 activation by Keap1 knockdown attenuates glomerulosclerosis. These results indicate that the Nrf2-Keap1 system is a promising drug target for the treatment of chronic kidney diseases.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have reported that podocytes are postnatally generated from progenitor cells localized in Bowman's capsule or in the bone marrow. In the present study, we investigated whether or not podocyte regeneration is important in the repair of injured glomeruli after mild podocyte injury in mice. Mild podocyte injury was induced in NEP25 mice (n = 8) by injecting an immunotoxin, LMB2 (0.625 ng/g body weight). Control mice, not injured by LMB2 injection (n = 7) was used as a comparison. Proliferating cells were labeled by continuous infusion of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). Podocytes, identified by nephrin, WT1 or podocin staining, that had incorporated BrdU were enumerated 4 weeks later. A total of 742 corpuscles were inspected in serial sections stained for BrdU and nephrin; 19% showed sclerosis. BrdU(+) cells were observed in both the glomeruli and Bowman's capsules, averaging 2.5 ± 3.1 in non-sclerotic corpuscles and 7.0 ± 5.8 in sclerotic corpuscles. Only one BrdU(+) cell was also positive for nephrin. Another cell, localized at a position consistent with its potential identification as a podocyte, was nephrin negative but had incorporated BrdU. WT1 staining similarly revealed that only two nuclei were doubly positive for BrdU and WT1. Additional 1676 corpuscles were inspected by double staining for BrdU and podocin; none were doubly positive. Podocytes are not replenished by proliferation of endogenous progenitor cells in mice with glomerular injury.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Angiotensin II content in the kidney is much higher than in the plasma, and it increases more in kidney diseases through an uncertain mechanism. Because the kidney abundantly expresses angiotensinogen mRNA, transcriptional dysregulation of angiotensinogen within the kidney is one potential cause of increased renal angiotensin II in the setting of disease. Here, we observed that kidney-specific angiotensinogen knockout mice had levels of renal angiotensinogen protein and angiotensin II that were similar to those levels of control mice. In contrast, liver-specific knockout of angiotensinogen nearly abolished plasma and renal angiotensinogen protein and renal tissue angiotensin II. Immunohistochemical analysis in mosaic proximal tubules of megalin knockout mice revealed that angiotensinogen protein was incorporated selectively in megalin-intact cells of the proximal tubule, indicating that the proximal tubule reabsorbs filtered angiotensinogen through megalin. Disruption of the filtration barrier in a transgenic mouse model of podocyte-selective injury increased renal angiotensin II content and markedly increased both tubular and urinary angiotensinogen protein without an increase in renal renin activity, supporting the dependency of renal angiotensin II generation on filtered angiotensinogen. Taken together, these data suggest that liver-derived angiotensinogen is the primary source of renal angiotensinogen protein and angiotensin II. Furthermore, an abnormal increase in the permeability of the glomerular capillary wall to angiotensinogen, which characterizes proteinuric kidney diseases, enhances the synthesis of renal angiotensin II.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
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    ABSTRACT: Angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers protect podocytes more effectively than other anti-hypertensive drugs. Transgenic rats overexpressing angiotensin II Type 1 (AT1) receptor selectively in podocytes have been shown to develop glomerulosclerosis. The prevailing hypothesis is that angiotensin II has a capacity of directly acting on the AT1 receptor of podocytes to induce injury. We therefore investigated the mechanism of reno-protective effect of AT1 receptor in a mouse model of HIV-1 nephropathy. We generated transgenic mice carrying the HIV-1 gene (control/HIV-1) or both HIV-1 gene and podocyte-selectively nullified AT1 gene (AT1KO/HIV-1). In these mice, we measured urinary protein or albumin excretion and performed histological analysis. At 8 months of age, AT1KO/HIV-1 (n = 13) and control/HIV-1 (n = 15) mice were statistically indistinguishable with respect to urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (median 2.5 versus 9.1 mg/mg), glomerulosclerosis (median 0.63 versus 0.45 on 0-4 scale) and downregulation of nephrin (median 6.90 versus 7.02 on 0-8 scale). In contrast to the observed lack of effect of podocyte-specific AT1KO, systemic AT1 inhibition with AT1 blocker (ARB) significantly attenuated proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis in HIV-1 mice. These results indicate that the protective effect of ARB is mediated through its receptors on cells other than podocytes, such as efferent arteriolar smooth muscle cells.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the renoprotective effect of an angiotensin receptor blocker depends on the angiotensin II type 1 (AT(1)) receptor on podocytes. For this purpose, we generated podocyte-specific knockout mice for the AT(1) gene (Agtr1a) and crossed with NEP25, in which selective podocyte injury can be induced by immunotoxin, anti-Tac(Fv)-PE38. Four weeks after the addition of anti-Tac(Fv)-PE38, urinary albumin:creatinine ratio was not attenuated in Agtr1a knockout/NEP25 mice (n=18) compared with that in control NEP25 mice (n=13; 8.08+/-2.41 in knockout versus 4.84+/-0.73 in control). Both strains of mice showed similar degrees of sclerosis (0.66+/-0.17 versus 0.82+/-0.27 on a 0 to 4 scale) and downregulation of nephrin (5.78+/-0.45 versus 5.65+/-0.58 on a 0 to 8 scale). In contrast, AT(1) antagonist or an angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor, but not hydralazine, remarkably attenuated proteinuria and sclerosis in NEP25 mice. Moreover, continuous angiotensin II infusion induced microalbuminuria similarly in both Agtr1a knockout and wild-type mice. Thus, angiotensin inhibition can protect podocytes and prevent the development of glomerulosclerosis independent of podocyte AT(1). Possible mechanisms include inhibitory effects on AT(1) of other cells or through mechanisms independent of AT(1). Our study further demonstrates that measures that directly affect only nonpodocyte cells can have beneficial effects even when sclerosis is triggered by podocyte-specific injury.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Hypertension