The TGF- and Wnt/-catenin pathways have important roles in modulating CKD, but how these growth factors affect the epithelial response to CKD is not well studied. TGF- has strong profibrotic effects, but this pleiotropic factor has many different cellular effects depending on the target cell type. To investigate how TGF- signaling in the proximal tubule, a key target and mediator of CKD, alters the response to CKD, we injured mice lacking the TGF- type 2 receptor specifically in this epithelial segment. Compared with littermate controls, mice lacking the proximal tubular TGF- receptor had significantly increased tubular injury and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in two different models of CKD. RNA sequencing indicated that deleting the TGF- receptor in proximal tubule cells modulated many growth factor pathways, but Wnt/-catenin signaling was the pathway most affected. We validated that deleting the proximal tubular TGF- receptor impaired -catenin activity and Genetically restoring -catenin activity in proximal tubules lacking the TGF- receptor dramatically improved the tubular response to CKD in mice. Deleting the TGF- receptor alters many growth factors, and therefore, this ameliorated response may be a direct effect of -catenin activity or an indirect effect of -catenin interacting with other growth factors. In conclusion, blocking TGF- and -catenin crosstalk in proximal tubules exacerbates tubular injury in two models of CKD.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.