Role of C/EBP-? in Adriamycin-induced podocyte injury.
ABSTRACT: Podocytes are terminally differentiated epithelial cells in the kidney glomeruli that act as a key component of the glomerular filtration barrier. Although the inciting injury to the podocyte may vary between various glomerular diseases, the inevitable consequence of podocyte injury results in their loss, leading to progressive kidney disease. Here, we report that the expression of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-? (C/EBP-?), a transcription factor known to interact with and activate PPAR-? and NF-?B, is suppressed in the glomerular cells, particularly in podocytes, in human kidneys with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Genetic ablation of C/EBP-? in podocytes resulted in increased proteinuria, increased podocyte foot process effacement, and to decreased podocyte number in the setting of Adriamycin (ADR)-induced nephropathy. Overexpression of C/EBP-? in human podocytes in vitro led to an inhibition of MCP-1 and IL-6 expression in response to TNF-? and IL-1? treatments. Conversely, augmented production of MCP-1 and IL-6 was observed in the glomeruli of C/EBP-? knockout mice and was associated increased infiltration of macrophages in vivo. Together, our data suggest that C/EBP-? mediates anti-inflammatory effects in podocytes to confer protection against podocyte injury and loss that may contribute to worsening glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:Glomerular diseases account for 90% of end-stage kidney disease. Podocyte loss is a common determining factor for the progression toward glomerulosclerosis. Mature podocytes cannot proliferate, but recent evidence suggests that they can be replaced by renal progenitors localized within the Bowman's capsule. Here, we demonstrate that Notch activation in human renal progenitors stimulates entry into the S-phase of the cell cycle and cell division, whereas its downregulation is required for differentiation toward the podocyte lineage. Indeed, a persistent activation of the Notch pathway induced podocytes to cross the G(2)/M checkpoint, resulting in cytoskeleton disruption and death by mitotic catastrophe. Notch expression was virtually absent in the glomeruli of healthy adult kidneys, while a strong upregulation was observed in renal progenitors and podocytes in patients affected by glomerular disorders. Accordingly, inhibition of the Notch pathway in mouse models of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis ameliorated proteinuria and reduced podocyte loss during the initial phases of glomerular injury, while inducing reduction of progenitor proliferation during the regenerative phases of glomerular injury with worsening of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Taken altogether, these results suggest that the severity of glomerular disorders depends on the Notch-regulated balance between podocyte death and regeneration provided by renal progenitors.
Project description:Injury and loss of podocytes are leading factors of glomerular disease and renal failure. The postmitotic podocyte is the primary glomerular target for toxic, immune, metabolic, and oxidant stress, but little is known about how this cell type copes with stress. Recently, autophagy has been identified as a major pathway that delivers damaged proteins and organelles to lysosomes in order to maintain cellular homeostasis. Here we report that podocytes exhibit an unusually high level of constitutive autophagy. Podocyte-specific deletion of autophagy-related 5 (Atg5) led to a glomerulopathy in aging mice that was accompanied by an accumulation of oxidized and ubiquitinated proteins, ER stress, and proteinuria. These changes resulted ultimately in podocyte loss and late-onset glomerulosclerosis. Analysis of pathophysiological conditions indicated that autophagy was substantially increased in glomeruli from mice with induced proteinuria and in glomeruli from patients with acquired proteinuric diseases. Further, mice lacking Atg5 in podocytes exhibited strongly increased susceptibility to models of glomerular disease. These findings highlight the importance of induced autophagy as a key homeostatic mechanism to maintain podocyte integrity. We postulate that constitutive and induced autophagy is a major protective mechanism against podocyte aging and glomerular injury, representing a putative target to ameliorate human glomerular disease and aging-related loss of renal function.
Project description:Podocytes are differentiated post-mitotic cells that cannot replace themselves after injury. Glomerular parietal epithelial cells are proposed to be podocyte progenitors. To test whether a subset of parietal epithelial cells transdifferentiate to a podocyte fate, dual reporter PEC-rtTA|LC1|tdTomato|Nphs1-FLPo|FRT-EGFP mice, named PEC-PODO, were generated. Doxycycline administration permanently labeled parietal epithelial cells with tdTomato reporter (red), and upon doxycycline removal, the parietal epithelial cells (PECs) cannot label further. Despite the presence or absence of doxycycline, podocytes cannot label with tdTomato, but are constitutively labeled with an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter (green). Only activation of the Nphs1-FLPo transgene by labeled parietal epithelial cells can generate a yellow color. At day 28 of experimental focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, podocyte density was 20% lower in 20% of glomeruli. At day 56 of experimental focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, podocyte density was 18% lower in 17% of glomeruli. TdTomato+ parietal epithelial cells were restricted to Bowman's capsule in healthy mice. However, by days 28 and 56 of experimental disease, two-thirds of tdTomato+ parietal epithelial cells within glomerular tufts were yellow in color. These cells co-expressed the podocyte markers podocin, nephrin, p57 and VEGF164, but not markers of endothelial (ERG) or mesangial (Perlecan) cells. Expansion microscopy showed primary, secondary and minor processes in tdTomato+EGFP+ cells in glomerular tufts. Thus, our studies provide strong evidence that parietal epithelial cells serve as a source of new podocytes in adult mice.
Project description:We review podocyte molecular structure and function, consider the underlying mechanisms related to podocyte dysfunction and propose that podocyte dysfunction be considered in the evaluation and management of age-associated glomerulosclerosis. With aging, progressive sympathetic activation, increased intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (RAS) activity, endothelin system and oxidative stress and reduced nitric oxide (NO)-availability can damage podocytes. Apoptosis and proliferation are the principal podocyte changes following injury with the latter leading to sclerosis and loss of nephrons. Podocyte loss can be evaluated by either determining their average number in biopsed glomeruli or by estimating podocyte number or their associated molecules in urine sediment. Podocyturia may be considered a marker of active glomerular disease. Preliminary data suggest that antiadrenergic drugs, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, RAS blocking drugs, endothelin system inhibitors and reduced oxidative stress can protect podocytes. Thus podocytes appear to play an important role in the pathogenesis, evaluation and therapy of age related glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:Inflammasome is a multiprotein complex consisting of Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NALP3), apoptosis-associated speck-like protein (ASC), and caspase 1 or 5, which functions to switch on the inflammatory process. The present study hypothesized that the formation and activation of NALP3 inflammasomes turn on podocyte injury leading to glomerulosclerosis during hyperhomocysteinemia (hHcys). RT-PCR and Western blot analysis demonstrated that murine podocytes expressed 3 essential components of the NALP3 inflammasome complex, namely, NALP3, ASC, and caspase 1. Treatment of podocytes with l-homocysteine induced the formation of NALP3 inflammasome complex, an increase in caspase 1 activity, podocyte cytoskeleton rearrangement, and decreased production of vascular endothelial growth factor from podocytes, which were all blocked by silencing the ASC gene or inhibiting caspase 1 activity. In mice with hHcys induced by feeding them a folate-free diet, NALP3 inflammasome formation and activation in glomerular podocytes were detected at an early stage, as shown by confocal microscopy, size exclusion chromatography of the assembled inflammasome complex, and increased interleukin-1? production in glomeruli. Locally silencing the ASC gene in the kidney significantly reduced NALP3 inflammasome formation and interleukin 1? production in glomeruli of mice with hHcys. Pathologically, hHcys-associated albuminuria, foot process effacement of podocytes, loss of podocyte slit diaphragm molecules, and glomerulosclerosis at the late stage were significantly improved by local ASC gene silencing or by caspase 1 inhibition. In conclusion, NALP3 inflammasome formation and activation on stimulation of homocysteine are important molecular mechanisms triggering podocyte injury and ultimately resulting in glomerulosclerosis in hHcys.
Project description:Background FSGS is a pattern of podocyte injury that leads to loss of glomerular function. Podocytes support other podocytes and glomerular capillary structure, oppose hemodynamic forces, form the slit diaphragm, and have mechanical properties that permit these functions. However, the biophysical characteristics of glomeruli and podocytes in disease remain unclear.Methods Using microindentation, atomic force microscopy, immunofluorescence microscopy, quantitative RT-PCR, and a three-dimensional collagen gel contraction assay, we studied the biophysical and structural properties of glomeruli and podocytes in chronic (Tg26 mice [HIV protein expression]) and acute (protamine administration [cytoskeletal rearrangement]) models of podocyte injury.Results Compared with wild-type glomeruli, Tg26 glomeruli became progressively more deformable with disease progression, despite increased collagen content. Tg26 podocytes had disordered cytoskeletons, markedly abnormal focal adhesions, and weaker adhesion; they failed to respond to mechanical signals and exerted minimal traction force in three-dimensional collagen gels. Protamine treatment had similar but milder effects on glomeruli and podocytes.Conclusions Reduced structural integrity of Tg26 podocytes causes increased deformability of glomerular capillaries and limits the ability of capillaries to counter hemodynamic force, possibly leading to further podocyte injury. Loss of normal podocyte mechanical integrity could injure neighboring podocytes due to the absence of normal biophysical signals required for podocyte maintenance. The severe defects in podocyte mechanical behavior in the Tg26 model may explain why Tg26 glomeruli soften progressively, despite increased collagen deposition, and may be the basis for the rapid course of glomerular diseases associated with severe podocyte injury. In milder injury (protamine), similar processes occur but over a longer time.
Project description:Podocyte injury is a key event for progressive renal failure. We have previously established a mouse model of inducible podocyte injury (NEP25) that progressively develops glomerulosclerosis after immunotoxin injection. We performed polysome analysis of intact and injured podocytes utilizing the NEP25 and RiboTag transgenic mice, in which a hemagglutinin tag is attached to ribosomal protein L22 selectively in podocytes. Podocyte-specific polysomes were successfully obtained by immunoprecipitation with an antihemagglutinin antibody from glomerular homogenate and analyzed using a microarray. Compared with glomerular cells, 353 genes were highly expressed and enriched in podocytes; these included important podocyte genes and also heretofore uncharacterized genes, such as Dach1 and Foxd2. Podocyte injury by immunotoxin induced many genes to be upregulated, including inflammation-related genes despite no infiltration of inflammatory cells in the glomeruli. MafF and Egr-1, which structurally have the potential to antagonize MafB and WT1, respectively, were rapidly and markedly increased in injured podocytes before MafB and WT1 were decreased. We demonstrated that Maff and Egr1 knockdown increased the MafB targets Nphs2 and Ptpro and the WT1 targets Ptpro, Nxph3, and Sulf1, respectively. This indicates that upregulated MafF and Egr-1 may promote deterioration of podocytes by antagonizing MafB and WT1. Our systematic microarray study of the heretofore undescribed behavior of podocyte genes may open new insights into the understanding of podocyte pathophysiology.
Project description:Podocyte depletion is a major mechanism driving glomerulosclerosis. Progression is the process by which progressive glomerulosclerosis leads to end stage kidney disease (ESKD). In order to determine mechanisms contributing to persistent podocyte loss, we used a human diphtheria toxin transgenic rat model. After initial diphtheria toxin-induced podocyte injury (over 30% loss in 4 weeks), glomeruli became destabilized, resulting in continued autonomous podocyte loss causing global podocyte depletion (ESKD) by 13 weeks. This was monitored by urine mRNA analysis and by quantitating podocytes in glomeruli. Similar patterns of podocyte depletion were found in the puromycin aminonucleoside and 5/6 nephrectomy rat models of progressive end-stage disease. Angiotensin II blockade (combined enalapril and losartan) restabilized the glomeruli, and prevented continuous podocyte loss and progression to ESKD. Discontinuing angiotensin II blockade resulted in recurrent glomerular destabilization, podocyte loss, and progression to ESKD. Reduction in blood pressure alone did not reduce proteinuria or prevent podocyte loss from destabilized glomeruli. The protective effect of angiotensin II blockade was entirely accounted for by reduced podocyte loss. Thus, an initiating event resulting in a critical degree of podocyte depletion can destabilize glomeruli and initiate a superimposed angiotensin II-dependent podocyte loss process that accelerates progression resulting in eventual global podocyte depletion and ESKD. These events can be monitored noninvasively in real-time through urine mRNA assays.
Project description:Podocytes are critically involved in the maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier and are key targets of injury in many glomerular diseases. Chronic injury leads to progressive loss of podocytes, glomerulosclerosis, and renal failure. Thus, it is essential to maintain podocyte survival and avoid apoptosis after acute glomerular injury. In normal glomeruli, podocyte survival is mediated via nephrin-dependent Akt signaling. In several glomerular diseases, nephrin expression decreases and podocyte survival correlates with increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling. How VEGF signaling contributes to podocyte survival and prevents apoptosis remains unknown. We show here that G?-interacting, vesicle-associated protein (GIV)/girdin mediates VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signaling and compensates for nephrin loss. In puromycin aminonucleoside nephrosis (PAN), GIV expression increased, GIV was phosphorylated by VEGFR2, and p-GIV bound and activated G?i3 and enhanced downstream Akt2, mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), and mammalian target of rapamycin complex-2 (mTORC2) signaling. In GIV-depleted podocytes, VEGF-induced Akt activation was abolished, apoptosis was triggered, and cell migration was impaired. These effects were reversed by introducing GIV but not a GIV mutant that cannot activate G?i3. Our data indicate that after PAN injury, VEGF promotes podocyte survival by triggering assembly of an activated VEGFR2/GIV/G?i3 signaling complex and enhancing downstream PI3K/Akt survival signaling. Because of its important role in promoting podocyte survival, GIV may represent a novel target for therapeutic intervention in the nephrotic syndrome and other proteinuric diseases.
Project description:Podocytes are highly specialized epithelial cells that are essential for an intact glomerular filtration barrier in the kidney. Several glomerular diseases like focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are initially due to podocyte injury and loss. Since causative treatments for FSGS are not available until today, drug screening is of great relevance. In order to test a high number of drugs, FSGS needs to be reliably induced in a suitable animal model. The zebrafish larva is an ideal model for kidney research due to the vast amount of offsprings, the rapid development of a simple kidney and a remarkable homology to the mammalian glomerulus. Zebrafish larvae possess a size-selective glomerular filtration barrier at 4 days post fertilization including podocytes with interdigitating foot processes that are connected by a slit membrane. Adriamycin is an anthracycline which is often used in mice and rats to induce a FSGS-like phenotype. In this study, we aimed to induce a similar phenotype to zebrafish larvae by adding adriamycin to the tank water in different concentrations. Surprisingly, zebrafish larvae did not develop glomerular injury and displayed an intact filtration barrier after treatment with adriamycin. This was shown by (immuno-) histology, our filtration assay, in vivo imaging by 2-photon microcopy, RT-(q)PCR as well as transmission electron microscopy. To summarize, adriamycin is unable to induce a podocyte-related damage in zebrafish larvae and therefore major effort must be made to establish FSGS in zebrafish larvae to identify effective drugs by screenings.