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BACKGROUND - Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) expression increases extracellular matrix deposition and contributes to interstitial fibrosis in the kidney after injury. While PAI-1 is ubiquitously expressed in the kidney, we hypothesized that interstitial fibrosis is strongly dependent on fibroblast-specific PAI-1 (fbPAI-1).
METHODS - Tenascin C Cre (TNC Cre) and fbPAI-1 knockdown (KD) mice with green fluorescent protein (GFP) expressed within the TNC construct underwent unilateral ureteral obstruction and were sacrificed 10 days later.
RESULTS - GFP+ cells in fbPAI-1 KD mice showed significantly reduced PAI-1 expression. Interstitial fibrosis, measured by Sirius red staining and collagen I western blot, was significantly decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice. There was no significant difference in transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) expression or its activation between the two groups. However, GFP+ cells from fbPAI-1 KD mice had lower TGF β and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression. The number of fibroblasts was decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice, correlating with decreased alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression and less fibroblast cell proliferation. TNC Cre mice had decreased E-cadherin, a marker of differentiated tubular epithelium, in contrast to preserved expression in fbPAI-1 KD. F4/80-expressing cells, mostly CD11c+/F4/80+ cells, were increased while M1 macrophage markers were decreased in fbPAI-1 KD compared with TNC Cre mice.
CONCLUSION - These findings indicate that fbPAI-1 depletion ameliorates interstitial fibrosis by decreasing fibroblast proliferation in the renal interstitium, with resulting decreased collagen I. This is linked to decreased M1 macrophages and preserved tubular epithelium.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a key profibrotic growth factor that is activated in acute kidney injury (AKI) and associated with cellular responses that lead to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The persistently injured, de-differentiated tubular epithelial cell is an important mediator of the transition from AKI to CKD. TGF-β signaling may perpetuate proximal tubule injury through de-differentiation, cell cycle arrest, and increased susceptibility to apoptosis. In addition, TGF-β signaling promotes macrophage chemotaxis, endothelial injury, and myofibroblast differentiation after AKI. Future studies that block TGF-β signaling after cessation of AKI are needed to better define its role in the progression of acute to chronic renal injury.
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Preclinical data suggests that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is arguably the most potent profibrotic growth factor in kidney injury. Despite this, recent clinical trials targeting TGF-β have been disappointing. These negative studies suggest that TGF-β signaling in the injured kidney might be more complicated than originally thought. This review examines recent studies that expand our understanding of how this pleiotropic growth factor affects renal injury.
RECENT FINDINGS - There are recent studies showing new mechanisms whereby TGF-β can mediate injury (e.g. epigenetic effects, macrophage chemoattractant). However, more significant are the increasing reports on cross-talk between TGF-β signaling and other pathways relevant to renal injury such as Wnt/β-catenin, YAP/TAZ (transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif), and klotho/FGF23. TGF-β clearly alters the response to injury, not just by direct transcriptional changes on target cells, but also through effects on other signaling pathways. In T cells and tubular epithelial cells, some of these TGF-β-mediated changes are potentially beneficial.
SUMMARY - It is unlikely that inhibition of TGF-β per se will be a successful antifibrotic strategy, but a better understanding of TGF-β's actions may reveal promising downstream targets or modulators of signaling to target therapeutically for chronic kidney disease.
The gastric bacterium causes a persistent infection that is directly responsible for gastric ulcers and gastric cancer in some patients and protective against allergic and other immunological disorders in others. The two outcomes of the -host interaction can be modeled in mice that are infected as immunocompetent adults and as neonates, respectively. Here, we have investigated the contribution of the immunomodulator VacA to -specific local and systemic immune responses in both models. We found that neonatally infected mice are colonized at higher levels than mice infected as adults and fail to generate effector T-cell responses to the bacteria; rather, T-cell responses in neonatally infected mice are skewed toward Foxp3-positive (Foxp3) regulatory T cells that are neuropilin negative and express RORγt. We found these peripherally induced regulatory T cells (pTregs) to be enriched, in a VacA-dependent manner, not only in the gastric mucosa but also in the lungs of infected mice. Pulmonary pTreg accumulation was observed in mice that have been infected neonatally with wild-type but not in mice that have been infected as adults or mice infected with a VacA null mutant. Finally, we traced VacA to gastric lamina propria myeloid cells and show that it suppressed interleukin-23 (IL-23) expression by dendritic cells and induced IL-10 and TGF-β expression in macrophages. Taken together, the results are consistent with the idea that creates a tolerogenic environment through its immunomodulator VacA, which skews T-cell responses toward Tregs, favors persistence, and affects immunity at distant sites. has coexisted with humans for at least 60.000 years and has evolved persistence strategies that allow it to evade host immunity and colonize its host for life. The VacA protein is expressed by all strains and is required for high-level persistent infection in experimental mouse models. Here, we show that VacA targets myeloid cells in the gastric mucosa to create a tolerogenic environment that facilitates regulatory T-cell differentiation, while suppressing effector T-cell priming and functionality. Tregs that are induced in the periphery during infection can be found not only in the stomach but also in the lungs of infected mice, where they are likely to affect immune responses to allergens.
Copyright © 2019 Altobelli et al.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, however, the underlying mechanisms that link CKD and CVD are not fully understood and limited treatment options exist in this high-risk population. microRNAs (miRNA) are critical regulators of gene expression for many biological processes in atherosclerosis, including endothelial dysfunction and inflammation. We hypothesized that renal injury-induced endothelial miRNAs promote atherosclerosis. Here, we demonstrate that dual inhibition of endothelial miRNAs inhibits atherosclerosis in the setting of renal injury.
METHODS - Aortic endothelial miRNAs were analyzed in apolipoprotein E-deficient (Apoe) mice with renal damage (5/6 nephrectomy, 5/6Nx) by real-time PCR. Endothelial miR-92a-3p and miR-489-3p were inhibited by locked-nucleic acid (LNA) miRNA inhibitors complexed to HDL.
RESULTS - Renal injury significantly increased endothelial miR-92a-3p levels in Apoe;5/6Nx mice. Dual inhibition of miR-92a-3p and miR-489-3p in Apoe;5/6Nx with a single injection of HDL + LNA inhibitors significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesion area by 28.6% compared to HDL + LNA scramble (LNA-Scr) controls. To examine the impact of dual LNA treatment on aortic endothelial gene expression, total RNA sequencing was completed, and multiple putative target genes and pathways were identified to be significantly altered, including the STAT3 immune response pathway. Among the differentially expressed genes, Tgfb2 and Fam220a were identified as putative targets of miR-489-3p and miR-92a-3p, respectively. Both Tgfb2 and Fam220a were significantly increased in aortic endothelium after miRNA inhibition in vivo compared to HDL + LNA-Scr controls. Furthermore, Tgfb2 and Fam220a were validated with gene reporter assays as direct targets of miR-489-3p and miR-92a-3p, respectively. In human coronary artery endothelial cells, over-expression and inhibition of miR-92a-3p decreased and increased FAM220A expression, respectively. Moreover, miR-92a-3p overexpression increased STAT3 phosphorylation, likely through direct regulation of FAM220A, a negative regulator of STAT3 phosphorylation.
CONCLUSIONS - These results support endothelial miRNAs as therapeutic targets and dual miRNA inhibition as viable strategy to reduce CKD-associated atherosclerosis.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier B.V.
IMPACT STATEMENT - Successful clinical tissue engineering requires functional fidelity of the cultured cell to its counterpart, but this has been elusive in renal tissue engineering. Typically, renal proximal tubule cells in culture have a flattened morphology and do not express key transporters essential to their function. In this article, we show for the first time that substrate mechanical properties dictate differentiation of cultured renal proximal tubule cells. Remarkably, this effect was only discernable after 4 weeks in culture, longer than usually reported for this cell type. These results demonstrate a new tunable parameter to optimize cell differentiation in renal tissue engineering.
TGF-β signals through a receptor complex composed of 2 type I and 2 type II (TGF-βRII) subunits. We investigated the role of macrophage TGF-β signaling in fibrosis after AKI in mice with selective monocyte/macrophage TGF-βRII deletion (macrophage TGF-βRII-/- mice). Four weeks after injury, renal TGF-β1 expression and fibrosis were higher in WT mice than macrophage TGF-βRII-/- mice, which had decreased renal macrophages. The in vitro chemotactic response to f-Met-Leu-Phe was comparable between bone marrow-derived monocytes (BMMs) from WT and macrophage TGF-βRII-/- mice, but TGF-βRII-/- BMMs did not respond to TGF-β. We then implanted Matrigel plugs suffused with either f-Met-Leu-Phe or TGF-β1 into WT or macrophage TGF-βRII-/- mice. After 6 days, f-Met-Leu-Phe induced similar macrophage infiltration into the Matrigel plugs of WT and macrophage TGF-βRII-/- mice, but TGF-β induced infiltration only in WT mice. We further determined the number of labeled WT or TGF-βRII-/- BMMs infiltrating into WT kidneys 20 days after ischemic injury. There were more labeled WT BMMs than TGF-βRII-/- BMMs. Therefore, macrophage TGF-βRII deletion protects against the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis following severe ischemic renal injury. Chemoattraction of macrophages to the injured kidney through a TGF-β/TGF-βRII axis is a heretofore undescribed mechanism by which TGF-β can mediate renal fibrosis during progressive renal injury.
During the dermal wound healing process, the mechanical rigidity of the newly deposited extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1 promote the transition of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts. Myofibroblasts generate large cellular forces that contract and remodel the extracellular matrix leading to scar formation. In contrast, myofibroblasts are not detected in fetal dermal wounds which are more compliant and contain less transforming growth factor-β1 than adult wounds. Instead, fetal fibroblasts orchestrate scarless healing of dermal wounds resulting in healed tissues that resemble uninjured dermis. While these biomechanical differences suggest that the fetal wound environment promotes smaller cellular forces which enable regeneration, previous studies indicate that fetal fibroblasts have unique contractile properties that may facilitate scarless dermal repair. Therefore, we tested whether physiologic wound rigidities and transforming growth factor-β1 induce contractile forces and myofibroblast differentiation of fetal dermal fibroblasts. In comparison to their adult dermal counterparts, we found that fetal fibroblasts exhibit a deficient contractile response to rigid extracellular matrix and transforming growth factor-β1. Our data suggest that the contractile phenotype of fetal dermal fibroblasts limits their cellular force production and prevents their ability to differentiate into myofibroblasts.
© 2018 The Authors. Wound Repair and Regeneration published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of by the Wound Healing Society.
We present an integromic analysis of gene alterations that modulate transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-Smad-mediated signaling in 9,125 tumor samples across 33 cancer types in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Focusing on genes that encode mediators and regulators of TGF-β signaling, we found at least one genomic alteration (mutation, homozygous deletion, or amplification) in 39% of samples, with highest frequencies in gastrointestinal cancers. We identified mutation hotspots in genes that encode TGF-β ligands (BMP5), receptors (TGFBR2, AVCR2A, and BMPR2), and Smads (SMAD2 and SMAD4). Alterations in the TGF-β superfamily correlated positively with expression of metastasis-associated genes and with decreased survival. Correlation analyses showed the contributions of mutation, amplification, deletion, DNA methylation, and miRNA expression to transcriptional activity of TGF-β signaling in each cancer type. This study provides a broad molecular perspective relevant for future functional and therapeutic studies of the diverse cancer pathways mediated by the TGF-β superfamily.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.