Novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques reveal changed metabolic profiles in recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Idiopathic forms of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are caused by circulating permeability factors, which can lead to early recurrence of FSGS and kidney failure after kidney transplantation. In the past three decades, many research endeavors were undertaken to identify these unknown factors. Even though some potential candidates have been recently discussed in the literature, "the" actual factor remains elusive. Therefore, there is an increased demand in FSGS research for the use of novel technologies that allow us to study FSGS from a yet unexplored angle. Here, we report the successful treatment of recurrent FSGS in a patient after living-related kidney transplantation by removal of circulating factors with CytoSorb apheresis. Interestingly, the classical published circulating factors were all in normal range in this patient but early disease recurrence in the transplant kidney and immediate response to CytoSorb apheresis were still suggestive for pathogenic circulating factors. To proof the functional effects of the patient's serum on podocytes and the glomerular filtration barrier we used a podocyte cell culture model and a proteinuria model in zebrafish to detect pathogenic effects on the podocytes actin cytoskeleton inducing a functional phenotype and podocyte effacement. We then performed Raman spectroscopy in the < 50 kDa serum fraction, on cultured podocytes treated with the FSGS serum and in kidney biopsies of the same patient at the time of transplantation and at the time of disease recurrence. The analysis revealed changes in podocyte metabolome induced by the FSGS serum as well as in focal glomerular and parietal epithelial cell regions in the FSGS biopsy. Several altered Raman spectra were identified in the fractionated serum and metabolome analysis by mass spectrometry detected lipid profiles in the FSGS serum, which were supported by disturbances in the Raman spectra. Our novel innovative analysis reveals changed lipid metabolome profiles associated with idiopathic FSGS that might reflect a new subtype of the disease.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is frequently found in biopsies of patients with steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS). The pathogenesis of SRNS/FSGS is often unknown and the disease will recur in up to 50% of patients post-transplant, indicating the presence of circulating podocyte-toxic factor(s). Several studies have reported clinical improvement after anti-TNF? therapy. However, prediction of the clinical outcome in SRNS/FSGS is difficult, and novel predictive biomarkers are needed. An image-based assay, which measures disassembly of focal adhesion complexes in cultured podocytes, was used to ascertain the presence of podocyte toxic activity in SRNS/FSGS sera. Expression of TNF? pathway genes was analysed in the Nephroseq FSGS cohort and in cultured podocytes treated with SRNS/FSGS sera. Podocyte toxic activity was detected in 48/96 SRNS/FSGS patients. It did not correlate with serum TNF? levels, age, sex, ethnicity or glomerular filtration rate. In ~25% of the toxic samples, the toxicity was strongly inhibited by blockade of TNF? signaling. Transcriptional profiling of human FSGS biopsies and podocytes treated with FSGS sera revealed significant increases in expression of TNF? pathway genes. We identified patients with serum podocyte toxic activity who may be at risk for FSGS recurrence, and those patients in whom serum podocyte toxicity may be reversed by TNF? blockade. Activation of TNF? pathway genes occurs in podocytes of FSGS patients suggesting a causative effect of this pathway in response to circulating factor(s). In vitro analyses of patient sera may stratify patients according to prognostic outcomes and potential responses to specific clinical interventions.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) accounts for about 40% of all nephrotic syndrome cases in adults. The presence of several potential circulating factors has been suggested in patients with primary FSGS and particularly in patients with recurrent disease after transplant. Irrespectively of the nature of the circulating factors, this study was aimed at identifying early glomerular/podocyte-specific pathways that are activated by the sera of patients affected by FSGS. Kidney biopsies were obtained from patients undergoing kidney transplantation due to primary FSGS. Donor kidneys were biopsied pre-reperfusion (PreR) and a subset 1-2 hours after reperfusion of the kidney (PostR). Thirty-one post reperfusion (PostR) and 36 PreR biopsy samples were analyzed by microarray and gene enrichment KEGG pathway analysis. Data were compared to those obtained from patients with incident primary FSGS enrolled in other cohorts as well as with another cohort to correct for pathways activated by ischemia reperfusion. Using an ex-vivo cell-based assay in which human podocytes were cultured in the presence of sera from patients with recurrent and non recurrent FSGS, the molecular signature of podocytes exposed to sera from patients with REC was compared to the one established from patients with NON REC. We demonstrate that inflammatory pathways, including the TNF pathway, are primarily activated immediately after exposure to the sera of patients with primary FSGS, while phagocytotic pathways are activated when proteinuria becomes clinically evident. The TNF pathway activation by one or more circulating factors present in the sera of patients with FSGS supports prior experimental findings from our group demonstrating a causative role of local TNF in podocyte injury in FSGS. Correlation analysis with clinical and histological parameters of disease was performed and further supported a possible role for TNF pathway activation in FSGS. Additionally, we identified a unique set of genes that is specifically activated in podocytes when cultured in the presence of serum of patients with REC FSGS. This clinical translational study supports our prior experimental findings describing a potential role of the TNF pathway in the pathogenesis of FSGS. Validation of these findings in larger cohorts may lay the ground for the implementation of integrated system biology approaches to risk stratify patients affected by FSGS and to identify novel pathways relevant to podocyte injury.
Project description:FSGS is a common glomerular disorder that has a high propensity for recurrence after kidney transplant. The pathophysiology of FSGS is unknown, but podocytes seem to be the target of one or several circulating factors that lead to cytoskeleton reorganization and proteinuria. Research on podocytes has identified B7-1 as an important factor in podocyte biology and a new therapeutic target in renal disease. Indeed, in four patients with recurrent FSGS after transplant, treatment with the B7-1 blocker abatacept was associated with proteinuria remission. Here, we prospectively treated nine patients with recurrent FSGS after transplant using either abatacept or belatacept, a B7-1 blocker with higher affinity, and did not induce proteinuria remission. Furthermore, we did not detect B7-1 expression by immunofluorescence in podocytes of biopsy specimens from these or other kidney grafts or podocytes of native kidney biopsy specimens. In conclusion, B7-1 blockade did not induce FSGS remission after transplant in our study.
Project description:FSGS is the most common primary glomerular disease underlying ESRD in the United States and is increasing in incidence globally. FSGS results from podocyte injury, yet the mechanistic details of disease pathogenesis remain unclear. This has resulted in an unmet clinical need for cell-specific therapy in the treatment of FSGS and other proteinuric kidney diseases. We previously identified Yes-associated protein (YAP) as a prosurvival signaling molecule, the in vitro silencing of which increases podocyte susceptibility to apoptotic stimulus. YAP is a potent oncogene that is a prominent target for chemotherapeutic drug development. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that podocyte-specific deletion of Yap leads to proteinuric kidney disease through increased podocyte apoptosis. Yap was selectively silenced in podocytes using Cre-mediated recombination controlled by the podocin promoter. Yap silencing in podocytes resulted in podocyte apoptosis, podocyte depletion, proteinuria, and an increase in serum creatinine. Histologically, features characteristic of FSGS, including mesangial sclerosis, podocyte foot process effacement, tubular atrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and casts, were observed. In human primary FSGS, we noted reduced glomerular expression of YAP. Taken together, these results suggest a role for YAP as a physiologic antagonist of podocyte apoptosis, the signaling of which is essential for maintaining the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. These data suggest potential nephrotoxicity with strategies directed toward inhibition of YAP function. Further studies should evaluate the role of YAP in proteinuric glomerular disease pathogenesis and its potential utility as a therapeutic target.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS) is a primary kidney disease that is commonly associated with proteinuria and progressive loss of glomerular function, leading to development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). FSGS is characterized by podocyte injury and depletion and collapse of glomerular capillary segments. Progression of FSGS is associated with TGF-? activation in podocytes; however, it is not clear how TGF-? signaling promotes disease. Here, we determined that podocyte-specific activation of TGF-? signaling in transgenic mice and BALB/c mice with Adriamycin-induced glomerulosclerosis is associated with endothelin-1 (EDN1) release by podocytes, which mediates mitochondrial oxidative stress and dysfunction in adjacent endothelial cells via paracrine EDN1 receptor type A (EDNRA) activation. Endothelial dysfunction promoted podocyte apoptosis, and inhibition of EDNRA or scavenging of mitochondrial-targeted ROS prevented podocyte loss, albuminuria, glomerulosclerosis, and renal failure. We confirmed reciprocal crosstalk between podocytes and endothelial cells in a coculture system. Biopsies from patients with FSGS exhibited increased mitochondrial DNA damage, consistent with EDNRA-mediated glomerular endothelial mitochondrial oxidative stress. Our studies indicate that segmental glomerulosclerosis develops as a result of podocyte-endothelial crosstalk mediated by EDN1/EDNRA-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction and suggest that targeting the reciprocal interaction between podocytes and endothelia may provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention in FSGS.
Project description:The specialized epithelial cell of the kidney, the podocyte, has a complex actin-based cytoskeleton. Dynamic regulation of this cytoskeleton is required for efficient barrier function of the kidney. Podocytes are a useful cell type to study the control of the actin cytoskeleton in vivo, because disruption of components of the cytoskeleton results in podocyte damage, cell loss, and a prototypic injury response called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Searching for actin regulatory proteins that are expressed in podocytes, we identified a RhoA-activated Rac1 GTPase-activating protein (Rac1-GAP), Arhgap24, that was upregulated in podocytes as they differentiated, both in vitro and in vivo. Increased levels of active Rac1 and Cdc42 were measured in Arhgap24 knockdown experiments, which influenced podocyte cell shape and membrane dynamics. Consistent with a role for Arhgap24 in normal podocyte functioning in vivo, sequencing of the ARHGAP24 gene in patients with FSGS identified a mutation that impaired its Rac1-GAP activity and was associated with disease in a family with FSGS. Thus, Arhgap24 contributes to the careful balancing of RhoA and Rac1 signaling in podocytes, the disruption of which may lead to kidney disease.
Project description:FSGS is characterized by segmental scarring of the glomerulus and is a leading cause of kidney failure. Identification of genes causing FSGS has improved our understanding of disease mechanisms and points to defects in the glomerular epithelial cell, the podocyte, as a major factor in disease pathogenesis. Using a combination of genome-wide linkage studies and whole-exome sequencing in a kindred with familial FSGS, we identified a missense mutation R431C in anillin (ANLN), an F-actin binding cell cycle gene, as a cause of FSGS. We screened 250 additional families with FSGS and found another variant, G618C, that segregates with disease in a second family with FSGS. We demonstrate upregulation of anillin in podocytes in kidney biopsy specimens from individuals with FSGS and kidney samples from a murine model of HIV-1-associated nephropathy. Overexpression of R431C mutant ANLN in immortalized human podocytes results in enhanced podocyte motility. The mutant anillin displays reduced binding to the slit diaphragm-associated scaffold protein CD2AP. Knockdown of the ANLN gene in zebrafish morphants caused a loss of glomerular filtration barrier integrity, podocyte foot process effacement, and an edematous phenotype. Collectively, these findings suggest that anillin is important in maintaining the integrity of the podocyte actin cytoskeleton.
Project description:High levels of circulating TNF and its receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2, predict the progression of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), but their contribution to organ damage in DKD remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the function of local and systemic TNF in podocyte injury. We cultured human podocytes with sera collected from DKD patients, who displayed elevated TNF levels, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) patients, whose TNF levels resembled those of healthy patients. Exogenous TNF administration or local TNF expression was equally sufficient to cause free cholesterol-dependent apoptosis in podocytes by acting through a dual mechanism that required a reduction in ATP-binding cassette transporter A1-mediated (ABCA1-mediated) cholesterol efflux and reduced cholesterol esterification by sterol-O-acyltransferase 1 (SOAT1). TNF-induced albuminuria was aggravated in mice with podocyte-specific ABCA1 deficiency and was partially prevented by cholesterol depletion with cyclodextrin. TNF-stimulated free cholesterol-dependent apoptosis in podocytes was mediated by nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATc1). ABCA1 overexpression or cholesterol depletion was sufficient to reduce albuminuria in mice with podocyte-specific NFATc1 activation. Our data implicate an NFATc1/ABCA1-dependent mechanism in which local TNF is sufficient to cause free cholesterol-dependent podocyte injury irrespective of TNF, TNFR1, or TNFR2 serum levels.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a glomerular disease characterized by proteinuria, progression to end-stage renal disease, and recurrence of proteinuria after kidney transplantation in about one-third of patients. It has been suggested that rituximab might treat recurrent FSGS through an unknown mechanism. Rituximab not only recognizes CD20 on B lymphocytes, but might also bind sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase acid-like 3b (SMPDL-3b) protein and regulate acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase) activity. We hypothesized that rituximab prevents recurrent FSGS and preserves podocyte SMPDL-3b expression. We studied 41 patients at high risk for recurrent FSGS, 27 of whom were treated with rituximab at time of kidney transplant. SMPDL-3b protein, ASMase activity, and cytoskeleton remodeling were studied in cultured normal human podocytes that had been exposed to patient sera with or without rituximab. Rituximab treatment was associated with lower incidence of posttransplant proteinuria and stabilization of glomerular filtration rate. The number of SMPDL-3b(+) podocytes in postreperfusion biopsies was reduced in patients who developed recurrent FSGS. Rituximab partially prevented SMPDL-3b and ASMase down-regulation that was observed in podocytes treated with the sera of patients with recurrent FSGS. Overexpression of SMPDL-3b or treatment with rituximab was able to prevent disruption of the actin cytoskeleton and podocyte apoptosis induced by patient sera. This effect was diminished in cultured podocytes where SMPDL-3b was silenced. Our study suggests that treatment of high-risk patients with rituximab at time of kidney transplant might prevent recurrent FSGS by modulating podocyte function in an SMPDL-3b-dependent manner.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a chronic glomerular disease with poor clinical outcomes. Podocyte loss via apoptosis is one important mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of FSGS. Recently, Yes-associated-protein (YAP), a key downstream protein in the Hippo pathway, was identified as an activator for multiple gene transcriptional factors in the nucleus to control cell proliferation and apoptosis. To investigate the potential role of YAP in the progression of FSGS, we examined kidney samples from patients with minimal change disease or FSGS and found that increases in podocyte apoptosis is positively correlated with the cytoplasmic distribution of YAP in human FSGS. Utilizing an established mT/mG transgenic mouse model and primary cultured podocytes, we found that YAP was distributed uniformly in nucleus and cytoplasm in the podocytes of control animals. Adriamycin treatment induced gradual nuclear exclusion of YAP with enhanced phospho-YAP/YAP ratio, accompanied by the induction of podocyte apoptosis both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, we used verteporfin to treat an Adriamycin-induced FSGS mouse model, and found YAP inhibition by verteporfin induced nuclear exclusion of YAP, thus increasing podocyte apoptosis and accelerating disease progression. Therefore, our findings suggest that YAP nuclear distribution and activation in podocytes is an important endogenous anti-apoptotic mechanism during the progression of FSGS.