Renal Dnase1 enzyme activity and protein expression is selectively shut down in murine and human membranoproliferative lupus nephritis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Deposition of chromatin-IgG complexes within glomerular membranes is a key event in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. We recently reported an acquired loss of renal Dnase1 expression linked to transformation from mild to severe membranoproliferative lupus nephritis in (NZBxNZW)F1 mice. As this may represent a basic mechanism in the progression of lupus nephritis, several aspects of Dnase1 expression in lupus nephritis were analyzed. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Total nuclease activity and Dnase1 expression and activity was evaluated using in situ and in vitro analyses of kidneys and sera from (NZBxNZW)F1 mice of different ages, and from age-matched healthy controls. Immunofluorescence staining for Dnase1 was performed on kidney biopsies from (NZBxNZW)F1 mice as well as from human SLE patients and controls. Reduced serum Dnase1 activity was observed in both mesangial and end-stage lupus nephritis. A selective reduction in renal Dnase1 activity was seen in mice with massive deposition of chromatin-containing immune complexes in glomerular capillary walls. Mice with mild mesangial nephritis showed normal renal Dnase1 activity. Similar differences were seen when comparing human kidneys with severe and mild lupus nephritis. Dnase1 was diffusely expressed within the kidney in normal and mildly affected kidneys, whereas upon progression towards end-stage renal disease, Dnase1 was down-regulated in all renal compartments. This demonstrates that the changes associated with development of severe nephritis in the murine model are also relevant to human lupus nephritis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Reduction in renal Dnase1 expression and activity is limited to mice and SLE patients with signs of membranoproliferative nephritis, and may be a critical event in the development of severe forms of lupus nephritis. Reduced Dnase1 activity reflects loss in the expression of the protein and not inhibition of enzyme activity.
Project description:An acquired loss of renal DNaseI promotes transformation of mild mesangial lupus nephritis into membranoproliferative end-stage organ disease. In this study, we analyzed expression profiles of DNaseI in other organs of lupus-prone (NZB×NZW)F1 mice during disease progression to determine whether silencing of the renal DNaseI gene is an organ-specific feature or whether loss of DNaseI reflects a systemic error in mice with sever lupus nephritis. The present results demonstrate normal or elevated levels of DNaseI mRNA and enzyme activity in liver, spleen, and serum samples from (NZB×NZW)F1 mice throughout all the stages of lupus nephritis. DNaseI activity was dramatically reduced only in kidneys of mice with sever nephritis and was the only nuclease that was down-regulated, whereas six other nucleases (DNaseII1 to 3, caspase-activated DNase, Dnase2a, and endonuclease G) were approximately normally expressed in kidneys, liver, and spleen. Loss of renal DNaseI was not accompanied by changes in serum DNaseI activity, suggesting independent mechanisms of DNaseI regulation in circulation and in kidneys and an absence of compensatory up-regulation of serum DNaseI activity in the case of renal DNaseI deficiency. Thus, silencing of renal DNaseI is a unique renal feature in membranoproliferative lupus nephritis. Determining the mechanism(s) responsible for DNaseI down-regulation might lead to the generation of new therapeutic targets to treat and prevent progressive lupus nephritis.
Project description:Lupus nephritis is characterized by deposition of chromatin fragment-IgG complexes in the mesangial matrix and glomerular basement membranes (GBM). The latter defines end-stage disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPALS: In the present study we determined the impact of antibodies to dsDNA, renal Dnase1 and matrix metalloprotease (MMP) mRNA levels and enzyme activities on early and late events in murine lupus nephritis. The major focus was to analyse if these factors were interrelated, and if changes in their expression explain basic processes accounting for lupus nephritis.Early phases of nephritis were associated with chromatin-IgG complex deposition in the mesangial matrix. A striking observation was that this event correlated with appearance of anti-dsDNA antibodies and mild or clinically silent nephritis. These events preceded down-regulation of renal Dnase1. Later, renal Dnase1 mRNA level and enzyme activity were reduced, while MMP2 mRNA level and enzyme activity increased. Reduced levels of renal Dnase1 were associated in time with deficient fragmentation of chromatin from dead cells. Large fragments were retained and accumulated in GBM. Also, since chromatin fragments are prone to stimulate Toll-like receptors in e.g. dendritic cells, this may in fact explain increased expression of MMPs.These scenarios may explain the basis for deposition of chromatin-IgG complexes in glomeruli in early and late stages of nephritis, loss of glomerular integrity and finally renal failure.
Project description:Recent studies demonstrate that transformation of mild lupus nephritis into end-stage disease is imposed by silencing of renal DNaseI gene expression in (NZBxNZW)F1 mice. Down-regulation of DNaseI results in reduced chromatin fragmentation, and in deposition of extracellular chromatin-IgG complexes in glomerular basement membranes in individuals that produce IgG anti-chromatin antibodies. The main focus of the present study is to describe the biological consequences of renal DNaseI shut-down and reduced chromatin fragmentation with a particular focus on whether exposed large chromatin fragments activate Toll like receptors and the necrosis-related Clec4e receptor in murine and human lupus nephritis. Furthermore, analyses where performed to determine if matrix metalloproteases are up-regulated as a consequence of chromatin-mediated Toll like receptors/Clec4e stimulation. Mouse and human mRNA expression levels of DNaseI, Toll like receptors 7-9, Clec4e, pro-inflammatory cytokines and MMP2/MMP9 were determined and compared with in situ protein expression profiles and clinical data. We demonstrate that exposure of chromatin significantly up-regulate Toll like receptors and Clec4e in mice, and also but less pronounced in patients with lupus nephritis treated with immunosuppresants. In conclusion, silencing of renal DNaseI gene expression initiates a cascade of inflammatory signals leading to progression of both murine and human lupus nephritis. Principal component analyses biplot of data from murine and human lupus nephrits demonstrate the importance of DNaseI gene shut down for progression of the organ disease.
Project description:We have demonstrated that the renal endonuclease DNaseI is up-regulated in mesangial nephritis while down-regulated during progression of the disease. To determine the basis for these reciprocal DNaseI expression profiles we analyse processes accounting for an early increase in renal DNaseI expression. Main hypotheses were that i. the mesangial inflammation and secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines directly increase DNaseI protein expression in tubular cells, ii. the anti-apoptotic protein tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (Trap 1) is down-regulated by increased expression of DNaseI due to transcriptional interference, and iii. pro-inflammatory cytokines promote nuclear translocation of a variant of DNaseI. The latter hypothesis emerges from the fact that anti-DNaseI antibodies stained tubular cell nuclei in murine and human lupus nephritis. The present study was performed on human tubular epithelial cells stimulated with pro-inflammatory cytokines. Expression of the DNaseI and Trap 1 genes was determined by qPCR, confocal microscopy, gel zymography, western blot and by immune electron microscopy. Results from in vitro cell culture experiments were analysed for biological relevance in kidneys from (NZBxNZW)F1 mice and human patients with lupus nephritis. Central data indicate that stimulating the tubular cells with TNF? promoted increased DNaseI and reduced Trap 1 expression, while TNF? and IL-1? stimulation induced nuclear translocation of the DNaseI. TNF?-stimulation resulted in 3 distinct effects; increased DNaseI and IL-1? gene expression, and nuclear translocation of DNaseI. IL-1?-stimulation solely induced nuclear DNaseI translocation. Tubular cells stimulated with TNF? and simultaneously transfected with IL-1? siRNA resulted in increased DNaseI expression but no nuclear translocation. This demonstrates that IL-1? promotes nuclear translocation of a cytoplasmic variant of DNaseI since translocation clearly was not dependent on DNaseI gene activation. Nuclear translocated DNaseI is shown to be enzymatically inactive, which may point at a new, yet unknown function of renal DNaseI.
Project description:Epoxy-fatty-acids (EpFAs), cytochrome P450 dependent arachidonic acid derivatives, have been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties, though their effects on autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have yet to be investigated. We assessed the influence of EpFAs and their metabolites in lupus prone NZB/W F1 mice by pharmacological inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH, EPHX2). The sEH inhibitor 1770 was administered to lupus prone NZB/W F1 mice in a prophylactic and a therapeutic setting. Prophylactic inhibition of sEH significantly improved survival and reduced proteinuria. By contrast, sEH inhibitor-treated nephritic mice had no survival benefit; however, histological changes were reduced when compared to controls. In humans, urinary EpFA levels were significantly different in 47 SLE patients when compared to 10 healthy controls. Gene expression of EPHX2 was significantly reduced in the kidneys of both NZB/W F1 mice and lupus nephritis (LN) patients. Correlation of EpFAs with SLE disease activity and reduced renal EPHX gene expression in LN suggest roles for these components in human disease.
Project description:Proteins involved in iron homeostasis have been identified as biomarkers for lupus nephritis, a serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We tested the hypothesis that renal iron accumulation occurs and contributes to renal injury in SLE. Renal non-heme iron levels were increased in the (New Zealand Black x New Zealand White) F1 (NZB/W) mouse model of lupus nephritis compared with healthy New Zealand White (NZW) mice in an age- and strain-dependent manner. Biodistribution studies revealed increased transferrin-bound iron accumulation in the kidneys of albuminuric NZB/W mice, but no difference in the accumulation of non-transferrin bound iron or ferritin. Transferrin excretion was significantly increased in albuminuric NZB/W mice, indicating enhanced tubular exposure and potential for enhanced tubular uptake following filtration. Expression of transferrin receptor and 24p3R were reduced in tubules from NZB/W compared to NZW mice, while ferroportin expression was unchanged and ferritin expression increased, consistent with increased iron accumulation and compensatory downregulation of uptake pathways. Treatment of NZB/W mice with the iron chelator deferiprone significantly delayed the onset of albuminuria and reduced blood urea nitrogen concentrations. Together, these findings suggest that pathological changes in renal iron homeostasis occurs in lupus nephritis, contributing to the development of kidney injury.
Project description:Fc?RIIB-/-yaa mice develop severe lupus glomerulonephritis due to lack of an inhibitory immune cell receptor combined with a Y-chromosome linked autoimmune accelerator mutation. In the present study, we have investigated nephritis development and progression in Fc?RIIB-/-yaa mice to find shared features with NZB/NZW F1 lupus prone mice and human disease. We sacrificed 25 male Fc?RIIB-/-yaa mice at various disease stages, and grouped them according to activity and chronicity indices for lupus nephritis. Glomerular morphology and localization of electron dense deposits containing IgG were further determined by immune electron microscopy. Renal DNase I and pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA levels were measured by real-time quantitative PCR. DNase I protein levels was assessed by immunohistochemistry and zymography. Our results demonstrate early development of electron dense deposits containing IgG in Fc?RIIB-/-yaa mice, before detectable levels of serum anti-dsDNA antibodies. Similar to NZB/NZW F1, electron dense deposits in Fc?RIIB-/-yaa progressed from being confined to the mesangium in the early stage of lupus nephritis to be present also in capillary glomerular basement membranes. In the advanced stage of lupus nephritis, renal DNase I was lost on both transcriptional and protein levels, which has previously been shown in NZB/NZW F1 mice and in human disease. Although lupus nephritis appears on different genetic backgrounds, our findings suggest similar processes when comparing different murine models and human lupus nephritis.
Project description:Autoantibodies to diverse antigens escape regulation in systemic lupus erythematosus under the influence of a multitude of predisposing genes. To gain insight into the differential impact of diverse genetic backgrounds on tolerance mechanisms controlling autoantibody production in lupus, we established a single lupus-derived nephritis associated anti-basement membrane Ig transgene on each of four inbred murine lupus strains, including BXSB, (NZBxNZW)F1, NZB, and MRL/lpr, as approved by the Duke University and the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Centers' Animal Care and Use Committees. In nonautoimmune C57BL/6 mice, B cells bearing this anti-laminin Ig transgene are stringently regulated by central deletion, editing, and anergy. Here, we show that tolerance is generally intact in unmanipulated Ig transgenic BXSB, (NZBxNZW)F1, and NZB mice, based on absence of serum transgenic anti-laminin autoantibodies and failure to recover spontaneous anti-laminin monoclonal antibodies. Four- to six-fold depletion of splenic B cells in transgenic mice of these strains, as well as in MRL/lpr transgenic mice, and reduced frequency of IgM+ bone marrow B cells suggest that central deletion is grossly intact. Nonetheless the 4 strains demonstrate distinct transgenic B cell phenotypes, including endotoxin-stimulated production of anti-laminin antibodies by B cells from transgenic NZB mice, and in vitro hyperproliferation of both endotoxin- and BCR-stimulated B cells from transgenic BXSB mice, which are shown to have an enrichment of CD21-high marginal zone cells. Rare anti-laminin transgenic B cells spontaneously escape tolerance in MRL/lpr mice. Further study of the mechanisms underlying these strain-specific B cell fates will provide insight into genetic modification of humoral autoimmunity in lupus.
Project description:Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) hexosylceramides and lactosylceramides are elevated in lupus mice and human patients with nephritis. Whereas other renal diseases characterized by increased GSL levels are thought to be a result of upregulated GSL synthesis, our results suggest elevated hexosylceramides and lactosylceramides in lupus nephritis is a result of increased catabolism of ganglioside GM3 due to significantly increased neuraminidase (NEU) activity. Thus, we hypothesized GM3 would be decreased in lupus nephritis kidneys and blocking NEU activity would reduce GSLs and improve disease in lupus mice. Female MRL/lpr lupus mice were treated with water or the NEU inhibitor oseltamivir phosphate at the onset of proteinuria to block GSL catabolism. Age-matched (non-nephritic) female MRL/MpJ lupus mice served as controls. Renal GM3 levels were significantly higher in the nephritic MRL/lpr water-treated mice compared to non-nephritic MRL/MpJ mice, despite significantly increased renal NEU activity. Blocking GSL catabolism increased, rather than decreased, renal and urine GSL levels and disease was not significantly impacted. A pilot study treating MRL/lpr females with GlcCer synthase inhibitor Genz-667161 to block GSL synthesis resulted in a strong significant negative correlation between Genz-667161 dose and renal GSL hexosylceramide and GM3 levels. Splenomegaly was negatively correlated and serum IgG levels were marginally correlated with increasing Genz-667161 dose. These results suggest accumulation of renal GM3 may be due to dysregulation of one or more of the GSL ganglioside pathways and inhibiting GSL synthesis, but not catabolism, may be a therapeutic approach for treating lupus nephritis.
Project description:Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which patients develop autoantibodies to DNA, histones, and often to neutrophil proteins. These form immune complexes that are pathogenic and may cause lupus nephritis. In SLE patients, infections can initiate flares and are a major cause of mortality. Neutrophils respond to infections and release extracellular traps (NETs), which are antimicrobial and are made of DNA, histones, and neutrophil proteins. The timely removal of NETs may be crucial for tissue homeostasis to avoid presentation of self-antigens. We tested the hypothesis that SLE patients cannot clear NETs, contributing to the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. Here we show that serum endonuclease DNase1 is essential for disassembly of NETs. Interestingly, a subset of SLE patients' sera degraded NETs poorly. Two mechanisms caused this impaired NET degradation: (i) the presence of DNase1 inhibitors or (ii) anti-NET antibodies prevented DNase1 access to NETs. Impairment of DNase1 function and failure to dismantle NETs correlated with kidney involvement. Hence, identification of SLE patients who cannot dismantle NETs might be a useful indicator of renal involvement. Moreover, NETs might represent a therapeutic target in SLE.