Leslie Gewin
Faculty Member
Last active: 3/26/2019

Renal Tubule Repair: Is Wnt/β-Catenin a Friend or Foe?

Gewin LS
Genes (Basel). 2018 9 (2)

PMID: 29364168 · PMCID: PMC5852554 · DOI:10.3390/genes9020058

Wnt/β-catenin signaling is extremely important for proper kidney development. This pathway is also upregulated in injured renal tubular epithelia, both in acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. The renal tubular epithelium is an important target of kidney injury, and its response (repair versus persistent injury) is critical for determining whether tubulointerstitial fibrosis, the hallmark of chronic kidney disease, develops. This review discusses how Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the injured tubular epithelia promotes either repair or fibrosis after kidney injury. There is data suggesting that epithelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling is beneficial in acute kidney injury and important in tubular progenitors responsible for epithelial repair. The role of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in chronically injured epithelia is less clear. There is convincing data that Wnt/β-catenin signaling in interstitial fibroblasts and pericytes contributes to the extracellular matrix accumulation that defines fibrosis. However, some recent studies question whether Wnt/β-catenin signaling in chronically injured epithelia actually promotes fibrosis or repair.

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