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Albumin degradation in the renal tubules is impaired in diabetic nephropathy such that levels of the resulting albumin fragments increase with the degree of renal injury. However, the mechanism of albumin degradation is unknown. In particular, fragmentation of the endogenous native albumin has not been demonstrated in the kidney and the enzymes that may contribute to fragmentation have not been identified. To explore this we utilized matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry for molecular profiling of specific renal regions without disturbing distinct tissue morphology. Changes in protein expression were measured in kidney sections of eNOSdb/db mice, a model of diabetic nephropathy, by high spatial resolution imaging allowing molecular localizations at the level of single glomeruli and tubules. Significant increases were found in the relative abundances of several albumin fragments in the kidney of the mice with diabetic nephropathy compared with control nondiabetic mice. The relative abundance of fragments detected correlated positively with the degree of nephropathy. Furthermore, specific albumin fragments accumulating in the lumen of diabetic renal tubules were identified and predicted the enzymatic action of cathepsin D based on cleavage specificity and in vitro digestions. Importantly, this was demonstrated directly in the renal tissue with the endogenous nonlabeled murine albumin. Thus, our results provide molecular insights into the mechanism of albumin degradation in diabetic nephropathy.
Copyright © 2018 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A critical event during kidney organogenesis is the differentiation of podocytes, specialized epithelial cells that filter blood plasma to form urine. Podocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-podocytes) have recently been generated in nephron-like kidney organoids, but the developmental stage of these cells and their capacity to reveal disease mechanisms remains unclear. Here, we show that hPSC-podocytes phenocopy mammalian podocytes at the capillary loop stage (CLS), recapitulating key features of ultrastructure, gene expression, and mutant phenotype. hPSC-podocytes in vitro progressively establish junction-rich basal membranes (nephrin podocin ZO-1 ) and microvillus-rich apical membranes (podocalyxin ), similar to CLS podocytes in vivo. Ultrastructural, biophysical, and transcriptomic analysis of podocalyxin-knockout hPSCs and derived podocytes, generated using CRISPR/Cas9, reveals defects in the assembly of microvilli and lateral spaces between developing podocytes, resulting in failed junctional migration. These defects are phenocopied in CLS glomeruli of podocalyxin-deficient mice, which cannot produce urine, thereby demonstrating that podocalyxin has a conserved and essential role in mammalian podocyte maturation. Defining the maturity of hPSC-podocytes and their capacity to reveal and recapitulate pathophysiological mechanisms establishes a powerful framework for studying human kidney disease and regeneration. Stem Cells 2017;35:2366-2378.
© 2017 AlphaMed Press.
Discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that binds to and is activated by collagens. DDR1 expression increases following kidney injury and accumulating evidence suggests that it contributes to the progression of injury. To this end, deletion of DDR1 is beneficial in ameliorating kidney injury induced by angiotensin infusion, unilateral ureteral obstruction, or nephrotoxic nephritis. Most of the beneficial effects observed in the DDR1-null mice are attributed to reduced inflammatory cell infiltration to the site of injury, suggesting that DDR1 plays a pro-inflammatory effect. The goal of this study was to determine whether, in addition to its pro-inflammatory effect, DDR1 plays a deleterious effect in kidney injury by directly regulating extracellular matrix production. We show that DDR1-null mice have reduced deposition of glomerular collagens I and IV as well as decreased proteinuria following the partial renal ablation model of kidney injury. Using mesangial cells isolated from DDR1-null mice, we show that these cells produce significantly less collagen compared to DDR1-null cells reconstituted with wild type DDR1. Moreover, mutagenesis analysis revealed that mutations in the collagen binding site or in the kinase domain significantly reduce DDR1-mediated collagen production. Finally, we provide evidence that blocking DDR1 kinase activity with an ATP-competitive small molecule inhibitor reduces collagen production. In conclusion, our studies indicate that the kinase activity of DDR1 plays a key role in DDR1-induced collagen synthesis and suggest that blocking collagen-mediated DDR1 activation may be beneficial in fibrotic diseases.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Mutations in the complement regulatory proteins are associated with several different diseases. Although these mutations cause dysregulated alternative pathway activation throughout the body, the kidneys are the most common site of injury. The susceptibility of the kidney to alternative pathway-mediated injury may be due to limited expression of complement regulatory proteins on several tissue surfaces within the kidney. To examine the roles of the complement regulatory proteins factor H and Crry in protecting distinct renal surfaces from alternative pathway mediated injury, we generated mice with targeted deletions of the genes for both proteins. Surprisingly, mice with combined genetic deletions of factor H and Crry developed significantly milder renal injury than mice deficient in only factor H. Deficiency of both factor H and Crry was associated with C3 deposition at multiple locations within the kidney, but glomerular C3 deposition was lower than that in factor H alone deficient mice. Thus, factor H and Crry are critical for regulating complement activation at distinct anatomic sites within the kidney. However, widespread activation of the alternative pathway reduces injury by depleting the pool of C3 available at any 1 location.
Copyright © 2016 International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Autoantibody against glomerular basement membrane (GBM) plays a direct role in the initiation and development of Goodpasture's (GP) disease. The principal autoantigen is the non-collagenous domain 1 (NC1) of α3 chain of collagen IV, with two immunodominant epitopes, EA-α3 and EB-α3. We recently demonstrated that antibodies targeting α5NC1 are bound to kidneys in GP patients, suggesting their pathogenic relevance. In the present study, we sought to assess the pathogenicity of the α5 autoantibody with clinical and animal studies. Herein, we present a special case of GP disease with circulating autoantibody reactive exclusively to the α5NC1 domain. This autoantibody reacted with conformational epitopes within GBM collagen IV hexamer and produced a linear IgG staining on frozen sections of human kidney. The antibody binds to the two regions within α5NC1 domain, EA and EB, and inhibition ELISA indicates that they are targeted by distinct sub-populations of autoantibodies. Sequence analysis highlights five residues that determine specificity of antibody targeting EA and EB epitopes of α5NC1 over homologous regions in α3NC1. Furthermore, immunization with recombinant α5NC1 domain induced crescentic glomerulonephritis and alveolar hemorrhage in Wistar-Kyoto rats. Thus, patient data and animal studies together reveal the pathogenicity of α5 antibodies. Given previously documented cases of GP disease with antibodies selectively targeting α3NC1 domain, our data presents a conundrum of why α3-specific antibodies developing in majority of GP patients, with α5-specific antibodies emerged in isolated cases, the answer for which is critical for understanding of etiology and progression of the GP disease.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Two-dimensional measures of vascular architecture provide incomplete information about vascular structure. This study applied a novel rigorous method for 3D microCT-based analysis of total and cortical renal vasculature combined with a novel method to isolate and quantify the number of perfused glomeruli to assess vascular changes in eNOS-/- mice.
METHODS - Two month old male wildtype and eNOS-/- mice were perfused with heparinized saline followed by radiopaque Microfil. The Microfil-perfused vasculature of excised kidneys was imaged by μCT with an isotropic voxel-size of 5.0 μm. For analysis of renal cortical vasculature, a custom algorithm was created to define the cortical volume of interest (VOI) as the entire volume within 600 μm of the renal surface. Vessel thickness in the whole kidney or renal cortex was analyzed by plotting the distribution of vascular volume at each measured thickness and examining differences between the genotypes at individual thicknesses. A second image processing algorithm was created to isolate, identify, and extract contrast perfused glomeruli from the cortical vessels.
RESULTS - Fractional vascular volume (vascular volume/kidney volume; VV/KV) and Vessel Number/mm (V.N) were significantly lower in eNOS-/- mice vs. WT (p < 0.05). eNOS-/- kidneys had significantly fewer perfusable vessels vs. WT in the range of 20-40 μm in thickness. The cortex of eNOS-/- kidneys had significantly lower VV, VV/cortical volume, and V.N, with an increase in the distance between vessels (all p < 0.05). The total volume of vessels in the range of 20-30 μm was significantly lower in the cortex of eNOS-/- mice compared to WT (p < 0.05). Moreover, the total number of perfused glomeruli was significantly decreased in eNOS-/- mice (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS - The methods presented here demonstrate a new method to analyze contrast enhanced μCT images for vascular phenotyping of the murine kidney. These data also demonstrate that kidneys in eNOS-/- mice have severe defects in vascular perfusion/structure in the renal cortex.
Thiazide diuretics are used to treat hypertension; however, compensatory processes in the kidney can limit antihypertensive responses to this class of drugs. Here, we evaluated compensatory pathways in SPAK kinase-deficient mice, which are unable to activate the thiazide-sensitive sodium chloride cotransporter NCC (encoded by Slc12a3). Global transcriptional profiling, combined with biochemical, cell biological, and physiological phenotyping, identified the gene expression signature of the response and revealed how it establishes an adaptive physiology. Salt reabsorption pathways were created by the coordinate induction of a multigene transport system, involving solute carriers (encoded by Slc26a4, Slc4a8, and Slc4a9), carbonic anhydrase isoforms, and V-type H⁺-ATPase subunits in pendrin-positive intercalated cells (PP-ICs) and ENaC subunits in principal cells (PCs). A distal nephron remodeling process and induction of jagged 1/NOTCH signaling, which expands the cortical connecting tubule with PCs and replaces acid-secreting α-ICs with PP-ICs, were partly responsible for the compensation. Salt reabsorption was also activated by induction of an α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) paracrine signaling system. Coordinate regulation of a multigene α-KG synthesis and transport pathway resulted in α-KG secretion into pro-urine, as the α-KG-activated GPCR (Oxgr1) increased on the PP-IC apical surface, allowing paracrine delivery of α-KG to stimulate salt transport. Identification of the integrated compensatory NaCl reabsorption mechanisms provides insight into thiazide diuretic efficacy.
Loss of significant functional renal mass results in compensatory structural and hemodynamic adaptations in the nephron. While these changes have been characterized in several injury models, how they affect hemodynamic forces at the glomerular capillary wall has not been adequately characterized, despite their potential physiological significance. Therefore, we used intravital multiphoton microscopy to measure the velocity of red blood cells in individual glomerular capillaries of normal rats and rats subjected to ⅚ nephrectomy. Glomerular capillary blood flow rate and wall shear stress were then estimated using previously established experimental and mathematical models to account for changes in hematocrit and blood rheology in small vessels. We found little change in the hemodynamic parameters in glomerular capillaries immediately following injury. At 2 wk postnephrectomy, significant changes in individual capillary blood flow velocity and volume flow rate were present. Despite these changes, estimated capillary wall shear stress was unchanged. This was a result of an increase in capillary diameter and changes in capillary blood rheology in nephrectomized rats.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a major life-threatening complication of diabetes. Renal lesions affect glomeruli and tubules, but the pathogenesis is not completely understood. Phospholipids and glycolipids are molecules that carry out multiple cell functions in health and disease, and their role in DN pathogenesis is unknown. We employed high spatial resolution MALDI imaging MS to determine lipid changes in kidneys of eNOS(-/-) db/db mice, a robust model of DN. Phospholipid and glycolipid structures, localization patterns, and relative tissue levels were determined in individual renal glomeruli and tubules without disturbing tissue morphology. A significant increase in the levels of specific glomerular and tubular lipid species from four different classes, i.e., gangliosides, sulfoglycosphingolipids, lysophospholipids, and phosphatidylethanolamines, was detected in diabetic kidneys compared with nondiabetic controls. Inhibition of nonenzymatic oxidative and glycoxidative pathways attenuated the increase in lipid levels and ameliorated renal pathology, even though blood glucose levels remained unchanged. Our data demonstrate that the levels of specific phospho- and glycolipids in glomeruli and/or tubules are associated with diabetic renal pathology. We suggest that hyperglycemia-induced DN pathogenic mechanisms require intermediate oxidative steps that involve specific phospholipid and glycolipid species.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is a specialized extracellular matrix (ECM) compartment within the glomerulus that contains tissue-restricted isoforms of collagen IV and laminin. It is integral to the capillary wall and therefore, functionally linked to glomerular filtration. Although the composition of the GBM has been investigated with global and candidate-based approaches, the relative contributions of glomerular cell types to the production of ECM are not well understood. To characterize specific cellular contributions to the GBM, we used mass spectrometry-based proteomics to analyze ECM isolated from podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells in vitro. These analyses identified cell type-specific differences in ECM composition, indicating distinct contributions to glomerular ECM assembly. Coculture of podocytes and endothelial cells resulted in an altered composition and organization of ECM compared with monoculture ECMs, and electron microscopy revealed basement membrane-like ECM deposition between cocultured cells, suggesting the involvement of cell-cell cross-talk in the production of glomerular ECM. Notably, compared with monoculture ECM proteomes, the coculture ECM proteome better resembled a tissue-derived glomerular ECM dataset, indicating its relevance to GBM in vivo. Protein network analyses revealed a common core of 35 highly connected structural ECM proteins that may be important for glomerular ECM assembly. Overall, these findings show the complexity of the glomerular ECM and suggest that both ECM composition and organization are context-dependent.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society of Nephrology.