Epithelial cell cycle arrest in G2/M mediates kidney fibrosis after injury.
ABSTRACT: Fibrosis is responsible for chronic progressive kidney failure, which is present in a large number of adults in the developed world. It is increasingly appreciated that acute kidney injury (AKI), resulting in aberrant incomplete repair, is a major contributor to chronic fibrotic kidney disease. The mechanism that triggers the fibrogenic response after injury is not well understood. In ischemic, toxic and obstructive models of AKI, we demonstrate a causal association between epithelial cell cycle G2/M arrest and a fibrotic outcome. G2/M-arrested proximal tubular cells activate c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling, which acts to upregulate profibrotic cytokine production. Treatment with a JNK inhibitor, or bypassing the G2/M arrest by administration of a p53 inhibitor or the removal of the contralateral kidney, rescues fibrosis in the unilateral ischemic injured kidney. Hence, epithelial cell cycle arrest at G2/M and its subsequent downstream signaling are hitherto unrecognized therapeutic targets for the prevention of fibrosis and interruption of the accelerated progression of kidney disease.
Project description:Fibrosis of the glomerular and tubulointerstitial compartments is a common feature of chronic kidney disease leading to end-stage renal failure. This fibrotic process involves a number of pathologic mechanisms, including cell death and inflammation. This review focuses on the role of the c-Jun amino terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway in the development of renal fibrosis. The JNK pathway is activated in response to various cellular stresses and plays an important role in cell death and inflammation. Activation of JNK signaling is a common feature in most forms of human kidney injury, evident in both intrinsic glomerular and tubular cells as well as in infiltrating leukocytes. Similar patterns of JNK activation are evident in animal models of acute and chronic renal injury. Administration of JNK inhibitors can protect against acute kidney injury and suppress the development of glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. In particular, JNK activation in tubular epithelial cells may be a pivotal mechanism in determining the outcome of both acute kidney injury and progression of chronic kidney disease. JNK signaling promotes tubular epithelial cell production of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic molecules as well as tubular cell de-differentiation toward a mesenchymal phenotype. However, the role of JNK within renal fibroblasts is less well-characterized. The JNK pathway interacts with other pro-fibrotic pathways, most notable with the TGF-?/SMAD pathway. JNK activation can augment TGF-? gene transcription, induce expression of enzymes that activate the latent form of TGF-?, and JNK directly phosphorylates SMAD3 to enhance transcription of pro-fibrotic molecules. In conclusion, JNK signaling plays an integral role in several key mechanisms operating in renal fibrosis. Targeting of JNK enzymes has therapeutic potential for the treatment of fibrotic kidney diseases.
Project description:Kidney fibrosis is marked by an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of tubular epithelial cells (TECs). Here we find that, during renal fibrosis, TECs acquire a partial EMT program during which they remain associated with their basement membrane and express markers of both epithelial and mesenchymal cells. The functional consequence of the EMT program during fibrotic injury is an arrest in the G2 phase of the cell cycle and lower expression of several solute and solvent transporters in TECs. We also found that transgenic expression of either Twist1 (encoding twist family bHLH transcription factor 1, known as Twist) or Snai1 (encoding snail family zinc finger 1, known as Snail) expression is sufficient to promote prolonged TGF-?1-induced G2 arrest of TECs, limiting the cells' potential for repair and regeneration. In mouse models of experimentally induced renal fibrosis, conditional deletion of Twist1 or Snai1 in proximal TECs resulted in inhibition of the EMT program and the maintenance of TEC integrity, while also restoring cell proliferation, dedifferentiation-associated repair and regeneration of the kidney parenchyma and attenuating interstitial fibrosis. Thus, inhibition of the EMT program in TECs during chronic renal injury represents a potential anti-fibrosis therapy.
Project description:Tubular injury has a major etiological role in fibrosis. For many years, this relationship has been dominated by the perception that epithelial cells are transformed into myofibroblasts that proliferate and generate fibrotic matrix-the so-called epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Here we focus on mechanisms by which injury to the tubule results in fibrosis because of paracrine mechanisms. Specific injury to the proximal tubule results in inflammation, reversible injury, and adaptive repair if the insult is mild, self-limited in time, and occurs in a background of a normal kidney. Repeated injury, in contrast, leads to maladaptive repair with sustained tubule injury, chronic inflammation, proliferation of interstitial myofibroblasts, vascular rarefaction, interstitial fibrosis, and glomerular sclerosis. During the maladaptive repair process after the renal insult, many tubular cells become arrested in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. This results in activation of the DNA repair response with the resultant synthesis and secretion of pro-fibrotic factors. Pharmacologic interventions that enhance the movement through G2/M or facilitate apoptosis of cells that otherwise would be blocked in G2/M may reduce the development of fibrosis after kidney injury and reduce the progression of chronic kidney disease.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells-derived exosomes (MSC-exos) have attracted great interest as a cell-free therapy for acute kidney injury (AKI). However, the <i>in vivo</i> biodistribution of MSC-exos in ischemic AKI has not been established. The potential of MSC-exos in promoting tubular repair and the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. <b>Methods:</b> Transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, and western blotting were used to characterize the properties of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hucMSCs) derived exosomes. The biodistribution of MSC-exos in murine ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) induced AKI was imaged by the IVIS spectrum imaging system. The therapeutic efficacy of MSC-exos was investigated in renal I/R injury. The cell cycle arrest, proliferation and apoptosis of tubular epithelial cells (TECs) were evaluated <i>in vivo</i> and in HK-2 cells. The exosomal miRNAs of MSC-exos were profiled by high-throughput miRNA sequencing. One of the most enriched miRNA in MSC-exos was knockdown by transfecting miRNA inhibitor to hucMSCs. Then we investigated whether this candidate miRNA was involved in MSC-exos-mediated tubular repair. <b>Results:</b> <i>Ex vivo</i> imaging showed that MSC-exos was efficiently homing to the ischemic kidney and predominantly accumulated in proximal tubules by virtue of the VLA-4 and LFA-1 on MSC-exos surface. MSC-exos alleviated murine ischemic AKI and decreased the renal tubules injury in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, MSC-exos significantly attenuated the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of TECs both <i>in vivo</i> and <i>in vitro</i>. Mechanistically, miR-125b-5p, which was highly enriched in MSC-exos, repressed the protein expression of p53 in TECs, leading to not only the up-regulation of CDK1 and Cyclin B1 to rescue G2/M arrest, but also the modulation of Bcl-2 and Bax to inhibit TEC apoptosis. Finally, inhibiting miR-125b-5p could mitigate the protective effects of MSC-exos in I/R mice. <b>Conclusion:</b> MSC-exos exhibit preferential tropism to injured kidney and localize to proximal tubules in ischemic AKI. We demonstrate that MSC-exos ameliorate ischemic AKI and promote tubular repair by targeting the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of TECs through miR-125b-5p/p53 pathway. This study provides a novel insight into the role of MSC-exos in renal tubule repair and highlights the potential of MSC-exos as a promising therapeutic strategy for AKI.
Project description:Fibrosis contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Severe acute kidney injury can lead to CKD through proximal tubular cell (PTC) cycle arrest in the G2-M phase, with secretion of profibrotic factors. Here, we show that epithelial cells in the G2-M phase form target of rapamycin (TOR)-autophagy spatial coupling compartments (TASCCs), which promote profibrotic secretion similar to the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Cyclin G1 (CG1), an atypical cyclin, promoted G2-M arrest in PTCs and up-regulated TASCC formation. PTC TASCC formation was also present in humans with CKD. Prevention of TASCC formation in cultured PTCs blocked secretion of profibrotic factors. PTC-specific knockout of a key TASCC component reduced the rate of kidney fibrosis progression in mice with CKD. CG1 induction and TASCC formation also occur in liver fibrosis. Deletion of CG1 reduced G2-M phase cells and TASCC formation in vivo. This study provides mechanistic evidence supporting how profibrotic G2-M arrest is induced in kidney injury and how G2-M-arrested PTCs promote fibrosis, identifying new therapeutic targets to mitigate kidney fibrosis.
Project description:Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common clinical condition of growing incidence. Patients who suffer severe AKI have a higher risk of developing interstitial fibrosis, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease later in life. Cellular senescence is a persistent cell cycle arrest and altered gene expression pattern evoked by multiple stressors. The number of senescent cells increases with age and even in small numbers these cells can induce chronic inflammation and fibrosis; indeed, in multiple organs including kidneys, the accumulation of such cells is a hallmark of aging. We hypothesized that cellular senescence might be induced in the kidney after injury and that this might contribute to progressive organ fibrosis. Testing this hypothesis, we found that tubular epithelial cells (TECs) in mice senesce within a few days of kidney injury and that this response is mediated by epithelial Toll-like and interleukin 1 receptors (TLR/IL-1R) of the innate immune system. Epithelial cell-specific inhibition of innate immune signaling in mice by knockout of myeloid differentiation 88 (Myd88) reduced fibrosis as well as damage to kidney tubules, and also prevented the accumulation of senescent TECs. Importantly, although inactivation of Myd88 after injury ameliorated fibrosis, it did not reduce damage to the tubules. Selectively induced apoptosis of senescent cells by two different approaches only partially reduced kidney fibrosis, without ameliorating damage to the tubules. Our data reveal a cell-autonomous role for epithelial innate immunity in controlling TEC senescence after kidney injury, and additionally suggest that early therapeutic intervention is required for effective reduction of long-term sequelae of AKI.
Project description:Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an underestimated, yet important, risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Persistence of inflammation after a renal ischemic injury has been observed, both in experimental models and patients, and is thought to be an important mechanisms underlying progression of acute-to-chronic renal injury. Temporary suppression of inflammation immediately after AKI might therefore be a good first-line therapeutic strategy towards a better long term outcome. Male C57Bl/6?J mice (Charles River, 10-12?weeks of age) underwent warm (36?°C body temperature) unilateral ischemia-reperfusion of the kidney for 21?min, after which treatment with intraperitoneal injection of the corticosteroid dexamethasone (10?mg/kg) was initiated for 3?weeks. Both at that time point and after an additional 3?week post-treatment follow up period, fibrosis was quantified by collagen I gene expression and immunostaining, as well as gene expression analysis of fibrosis-related genes Tgf?, Ccn2 (Ctgf), Pai-1 and Ccn3. Furthermore, inflammation was evaluated by Tnf? gene expression and protein expression of the F4/80 macrophage marker and the ?-SMA fibroblast marker. Lastly, renal histopathology was quantified by a morphometric analysis of the tubulointerstitial area. Treatment with dexamethasone attenuated development of fibrosis, as evidenced by reduced collagen I gene expression and immunostaining, in combination with reduced gene expression of the pro-fibrotic Ccn2 and increased expression of the anti-fibrotic Ccn3. The effects of dexamethasone on renal fibrosis persisted during the 3?week follow up period, as evidenced by stagnation of collagen I deposition in the ischemic kidney, in contrast to vehicle-treatment, where progression of fibrosis was observed. However, expression levels of the pro-fibrotic genes re-approached those of vehicle-treated injured kidneys suggesting that the effects of dexamethasone on fibrosis beyond the treatment period are temporary. A short term anti-inflammatory therapy with dexamethasone only transiently attenuates ischemia induced fibrosis. Prolonged or persistent anti-inflammatory treatment seems warranted to achieve long term benefit.
Project description:The proximal tubule epithelium relies on mitochondrial function for energy, rendering the kidney highly susceptible to ischemic AKI. Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), a mediator of mitochondrial fission, regulates mitochondrial function; however, the cell-specific and temporal role of DRP1 in AKI in vivo is unknown. Using genetic murine models, we found that proximal tubule-specific deletion of Drp1 prevented the renal ischemia-reperfusion-induced kidney injury, inflammation, and programmed cell death observed in wild-type mice and promoted epithelial recovery, which associated with activation of the renoprotective β-hydroxybutyrate signaling pathway. Loss of DRP1 preserved mitochondrial structure and reduced oxidative stress in injured kidneys. Lastly, proximal tubule deletion of DRP1 after ischemia-reperfusion injury attenuated progressive kidney injury and fibrosis. These results implicate DRP1 and mitochondrial dynamics as an important mediator of AKI and progression to fibrosis and suggest that DRP1 may serve as a therapeutic target for AKI.
Project description:(1) Background: Successful treatment of acute kidney injury (AKI)-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unresolved. We aimed to characterize the time-course of changes after contralateral nephrectomy (Nx) in a model of unilateral ischemic AKI-induced CKD with good translational utility. (2) Methods: Severe (30 min) left renal ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) or sham operation (S) was performed in male Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) mice followed by Nx or S one week later. Expression of proinflammatory, oxidative stress, injury and fibrotic markers was evaluated by RT-qPCR. (3) Results: Upon Nx, the injured kidney hardly functioned for three days, but it gradually regained function until day 14 to 21, as demonstrated by the plasma urea. Functional recovery led to a drastic reduction in inflammatory infiltration by macrophages and by decreases in macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) mRNA and most injury markers. However, without Nx, a marked upregulation of proinflammatory (TNF-?, IL-6, MCP-1 and complement-3 (C3)); oxidative stress (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, NRF2) and fibrosis (collagen-1a1 (Col1a1) and fibronectin-1 (FN1)) genes perpetuated, and the injured kidney became completely fibrotic. Contralateral Nx delayed the development of renal failure up to 20 weeks. (4) Conclusion: Our results suggest that macrophage activation is involved in postischemic renal fibrosis, and it is drastically suppressed by contralateral nephrectomy ameliorating progression.
Project description:Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3), as an inflammatory regulator, has been implicated in acute kidney injury (AKI). Failed recovery after AKI can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the role of NLRP3 in the AKI-CKD transition is still unknown. A mild or severe AKI mouse model was performed by using ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). We evaluated the renal NLRP3 expression in acute and chronic phases of ischemic AKI, respectively. Although serum creatinine (Cr) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels in AKI chronic phase were equivalent to normal baseline, histological analysis and fibrotic markers revealed that severe AKI-induced maladaptive tubular repair with immune cell infiltration and fibrosis. Tubular damage was restored completely in mild AKI rather than in severe AKI. Of note, persistent overexpression of NLRP3 was also found in severe AKI but not in mild AKI. In the severe AKI-induced chronic phase, there was a long-term high level of NLRP3 in serum or urine. Overt NLRP3 was mainly distributed in the abnormal tubules surrounded by inflammatory infiltrates and fibrosis, which indicated the maladaptive repair. Renal Nlrp3 overexpression was correlated with infiltrating macrophages and fibrosis. Renal NLRP3 signaling-associated genes were upregulated after severe AKI by RNA-sequencing. Furthermore, NLRP3 was found increased in renal tubular epitheliums from CKD biopsies. Together, persistent NLRP3 overexpression was associated with chronic pathological changes following AKI, which might be a new biomarker for evaluating the possibility of AKI-CKD transition.