A noninvasive means to predict the onset and recurrence of lupus nephritis (LN) before overt renal injury is needed to optimize and individualize treatment. Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) is expressed by kidney tubules at the onset of LN, increases with disease progression, and spills into the circulation in lupus-prone mice. We tested the hypothesis that amplified expression of CSF-1 detected in the serum or urine correlates with intrarenal CSF-1 expression and histopathology (increased macrophage accumulation, activity indices) and clinical kidney disease activity and predicts the onset and recurrence of nephritis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We found increased serum or urine CSF-1 levels in patients with cutaneous, serositis, and musculoskeletal disease; however, the increase in CSF-1 levels was far greater in LN. Moreover, an elevation in serum or urine CSF-1 levels correlated with increasing intrarenal CSF-1 expression and histopathology. By longitudinally tracking patients, we found that elevated serum CSF-1 heralded the initial onset of disease, and a rise in serum or urine CSF-1 predicted recurrences of LN before clinical evidence of glomerular dysfunction and conventional serologic measures, even in patients with other manifestations of SLE. These findings indicate that serial monitoring for a rise in serum or urine CSF-1 levels in patients with SLE reflects kidney histopathology and may predict renal disease activity and the onset and recurrence of LN more accurately than conventional laboratory measures.
Ischemia/reperfusion injury is an unavoidable companion after kidney transplantation and influences short-term as well as long-term graft outcome. Clinically ischemia/reperfusion injury is associated with delayed graft function, graft rejection, and chronic graft dysfunction. Ischemia/reperfusion affects many regulatory systems at the cellular level as well as in the renal tissue that eventually result in a distinct inflammatory reaction of the kidney graft.
High levels of cell free DNA (cfDNA) in human blood plasma have been described in patients with autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the levels of cfDNA in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and to assess fluctuations of cfDNA concentrations compared to the course of disease progression under standard treatment. Therefore, nuclear cfDNA concentrations in plasma were measured in 59 SLE patients and 59 healthy controls. Follow-up blood plasma was collected from 27 of the 59 SLE patients. Patients were characterised by clinical parameters (antinuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-dsDNA-antibodies, C3, C4, and CRP), SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) and medical therapy. Our results showed that cfDNA concentrations were significantly higher in SLE patients compared to healthy individuals. Levels of cfDNA assessed in serial samples correlated significantly with the medical evaluation of disease activity in SLE patients. Our results could implicate cfDNA as a global marker for disease activity.
Recently oxacyclododecindione (Oxa), a macrocyclic lactone isolated from the imperfect fungus Exserohilum rostratum, has been described as a potent transcription inhibitor of inducible proinflammatory and profibrotic genes in cell culture models. As kidney disease in systemic lupus erythematosus is characterized by aberrant expression of inflammatory mediators and infiltration of immune cells, we investigated the effect of Oxa in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice, a model of systemic lupus erythematosus. These mice develop a spontaneous T-cell and macrophage-dependent autoimmune disease including severe glomerulonephritis that shares features with human lupus. Comparable to the results of in vitro models, we found a reduced expression of the cytokines IFN-?, IL-6, and TNF-? and the chemokines CCL2, RANTES, and CSF-1 on mRNA and protein level in the kidney of Oxa-treated MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Accordingly, Oxa treatment reduced the infiltration of immune cells and the frequency of activated proinflammatory T cells in the kidney. Moreover, kidney disease, measured by histopathology, IgG and collagen deposition, and proteinuria, was ameliorated in Oxa-treated MRL-Fas(lpr) mice compared with the control group. Thus, Oxa is a new effective anti-inflammatory compound, which may serve as base structure for the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of chronic inflammatory and/or fibrotic diseases.
The coagulation system has gained much interest again as new anticoagulatory substances have been introduced into clinical practice. Especially patients with renal failure are likely candidates for such a therapy as they often experience significant comorbidity including cardiovascular diseases that require anticoagulation. Patients with renal failure on new anticoagulants have experienced excessive bleeding which can be related to a changed pharmacokinetic profile of the compounds. However, the coagulation system itself, even without any interference with coagulation modifying drugs, is already profoundly changed during renal failure. Coagulation disorders with either episodes of severe bleeding or thrombosis represent an important cause for the morbidity and mortality of such patients. The underlying reasons for these coagulation disorders involve the changed interaction of different components of the coagulation system such as the coagulation cascade, the platelets and the vessel wall in the metabolic conditions of renal failure. Recent work provides evidence that new factors such as microparticles (MPs) can influence the coagulation system in patients with renal insufficiency through their potent procoagulatory effects. Interestingly, MPs may also contain microRNAs thus inhibiting the function of platelets, resulting in bleeding episodes. This review comprises the findings on the complex pathophysiology of coagulation disorders including new factors such as MPs and microRNAs in patients with renal insufficiency.
Renal cell carcinoma is increasing in incidence but the molecular mechanisms regulating its growth remain elusive. Coexpression of the monocytic growth factor colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-1 and its receptor CSF-1R on renal tubular epithelial cells (TEC) will promote proliferation and antiapoptosis during regeneration of renal tubules. Here, we show that a CSF-1-dependent autocrine pathway is also responsible for the growth of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). CSF-1 and CSF-1R were coexpressed in RCCs and TECs proximally adjacent to RCCs. CSF-1 engagement of CSF-1R promoted RCC survival and proliferation and reduced apoptosis, in support of the likelihood that CSF-1R effector signals mediate RCC growth. In vivo CSF-1R blockade using a CSF-1R tyrosine kinase inhibitor decreased RCC proliferation and macrophage infiltration in a manner associated with a dramatic reduction in tumor mass. Further mechanistic investigations linked CSF-1 and epidermal growth factor signaling in RCCs. Taken together, our results suggest that budding RCC stimulates the proximal adjacent microenvironment in the kidney to release mediators of CSF-1, CSF-1R, and epidermal growth factor expression in RCCs. Furthermore, our findings imply that targeting CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling may be therapeutically effective in RCCs.
The presence of microchimerism in peripheral blood of solid organ transplant recipients has been postulated to be beneficial for allograft acceptance. Kinetics of donor cell trafficking and accumulation in pediatric allograft recipients are largely unknown. In this study, we implemented SNPs of the HVRs I and II of mitochondrial DNA to serve as molecular genetic markers to detect donor-specific cell chimerism after pediatric renal transplantation. Serial dilution of artificial chimeric DNA samples showed a linear correlation coefficient of R > 0.98 and a detection sensitivity of 0.01% with high reproducibility. Longitudinal semiquantitative analysis of donor-specific SNPs was then performed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells samples up to two yr post-transplant. Quantity of donor-specific cell chimerism in peripheral blood was highest in the early post-transplant period reaching values of ~10% after liver-kidney and 2.8% after renal transplantation. From one wk after transplantation, renal transplant patients exhibited an amount of donor-specific mtDNA ranging from 0.01% to 0.1%. We developed a highly accurate, sensitive, and rapid real-time quantitative PCR method using sequence-specific primers and fluorescent hydrolysis probes for the detection of at least 0.01% donor-specific cells in the recipients peripheral blood after renal transplantation.
Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), the principal growth factor for macrophages, is increased in the kidney, serum, and urine of patients with lupus nephritis, and eliminating CSF-1 suppresses lupus in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. CSF-1 has three biologically active isoforms: a membrane-spanning cell surface glycoprotein (csCSF-1), a secreted proteoglycan (spCSF-1), and a secreted glycoprotein (sgCSF-1); the role of each isoform in the circulation and kidney in autoimmune disease is not well understood. Here, we constructed mutant MRL-Fas(lpr) mice that only express csCSF-1 or precursors of the spCSF-1 and sgCSF-1 isoforms. Both csCSF-1 and spCSF-1 shifted monocytes toward proinflammatory, activated populations, enhancing their recruitment into the kidney during lupus nephritis. With advancing lupus nephritis, spCSF-1 was the predominant isoform responsible for increasing circulating CSF-1 and, along with the csCSF-1 isoform, for increasing intrarenal CSF-1. Thus, csCSF-1 appears to initiate and promote the local activation of macrophages within the kidney. Intrarenal expression of csCSF-1 and spCSF-1 increases with advancing nephritis, thereby promoting the intrarenal recruitment of monocytes and expansion of Ly6C(hi) macrophages, which induce apoptosis of the renal parenchyma. Taken together, these data suggest that the three CSF-1 isoforms have distinct biologic properties, suggesting that blocking both circulating and intrarenal CSF-1 may be necessary for therapeutic efficacy.
Podocin is a critical component of the glomerular filtration barrier, its mutations causing recessive steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome. A GenBank analysis of the human podocin (NPHS2) gene resulted in the possible existence of a new splice variant of podocin in the kidney, missing the in-frame of exon 5, encoding the prohibitin homology domain. Using RT-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting followed by sequence analysis, we are for the first time able to prove the expression of a novel podocin isoform (isoform 2), exclusively and constitutively expressed in human podocytes. Furthermore, we reveal singular extrarenal podocin expression in human and murine testis. Our data show the Sertoli cells of the seminiferous tubules to be the origin of testicular podocin. Confocal laser microscopy illustrates the co-localization of podocin with filamentous actin within Sertoli cells, suggesting a role of podocin in the blood/testis barrier. These results led to the rationale to examine podocin expression in testes of men with Sertoli cell-only syndrome, a disorder characterized by azoospermia. Interestingly, we observed a complete down-regulation of podocin mRNA in Sertoli cell-only syndrome, indicating a possible role of podocin in the pathogenesis of this germinal aplasia. Men with Sertoli cell-only syndrome show normal renal podocin expression, suggesting an alternate regulation of the testicular promoter. Our findings may change the perception of podocin and give new insights into the ultrastructure of glomerular slit diaphragm and the blood/testis barrier.
Polymorphisms in the transcription factor Stat4 gene have been implicated as risk factors for systemic lupus erythematosus. Although some polymorphisms have a strong association with autoantibodies and nephritis, their impact on pathophysiology is still unknown. To explore this further we used signal transducers and activators of transcription 4 (Stat4) knockout MRL/MpJ-Fas(lpr)/Fas(lpr) (MRL-Fas(lpr)) mice and found that they did not differ in survival or renal function from Stat4-intact MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Circulating interleukin (IL)-18 levels, however, were elevated in Stat4-deficient compared to Stat4-intact mice, suggesting that this interleukin might contribute to the progression of lupus nephritis independent of Stat4. In a second approach, Stat4 antisense or missense oligonucleotides or vehicle were given to MRL-Fas(lpr) mice with advanced nephritis. Each of these treatments temporarily ameliorated disease, although IL-18 was increased in each setting. Based on these findings, studies using gene transfer to overexpress IL-18 in MRL-Fas(lpr) and IL-12p40/IL-23 knockout MRL-Fas(lpr) mice reveal a critical role for IL-18 in mediating disease. Thus, the Stat4 and IL-12 (an activator of Stat4)-independent factor, IL-18, can drive autoimmune lupus nephritis in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Temporarily blocking Stat4 during advanced nephritis ameliorates disease, suggesting a time-dependent compensatory proinflammatory mechanism.
Macrophages mediate kidney disease and are prominent in a mouse model (MRL-Fas(lpr)) of lupus nephritis. Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) is the primary growth factor for macrophages, and CSF-1 deficiency protects MRL-Fas(lpr) mice from kidney disease and systemic illness. Whether this renoprotection derives from a reduction of macrophages and whether systemic CSF-1, as opposed to intrarenal CSF-1, promotes macrophage-dependent lupus nephritis remain unclear. Here, we found that increasing systemic CSF-1 hastened the onset of lupus nephritis in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Using mutant MRL-Fas(lpr) strains that express high, moderate, or no systemic CSF-1, we detected a much higher tempo of kidney disease in mice with the highest level of CSF-1. Furthermore, we uncovered a multistep CSF-1-dependent systemic mechanism central to lupus nephritis. CSF-1 heightened monocyte proliferation in the bone marrow (SSC(low)CD11b(+)), and these monocytes subsequently seeded the circulation. Systemic CSF-1 skewed the frequency of monocytes toward "inflammatory" (SSC(low)CD11b(+)Ly6C(high)) and activated populations that homed to sites of inflammation, resulting in a more rapid accumulation of intrarenal macrophages (CD11b(+)CSF-1R(+) or CD68(+)) that induced apoptosis of tubular epithelial cells, damaging the kidney. In humans, we found increased levels of CSF-1 in the serum, urine, and kidneys of patients with lupus compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, serum and urine CSF-1 levels correlated with lupus activity, and intrarenal CSF-1 expression correlated with the histopathology activity index of lupus nephritis. Taken together, circulating CSF-1 is a potential therapeutic target for lupus nephritis.
Tubular damage following ischemic renal injury is often reversible, and tubular epithelial cell (TEC) proliferation is a hallmark of tubular repair. Macrophages have been implicated in tissue repair, and CSF-1, the principal macrophage growth factor, is expressed by TECs. We therefore tested the hypothesis that CSF-1 is central to tubular repair using an acute renal injury and repair model, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Mice injected with CSF-1 following I/R exhibited hastened healing, as evidenced by decreased tubular pathology, reduced fibrosis, and improved renal function. Notably, CSF-1 treatment increased TEC proliferation and reduced TEC apoptosis. Moreover, administration of a CSF-1 receptor-specific (CSF-1R-specific) antibody after I/R increased tubular pathology and fibrosis, suppressed TEC proliferation, and heightened TEC apoptosis. To determine the contribution of macrophages to CSF-1-dependent renal repair, we assessed the effect of CSF-1 on I/R in mice in which CD11b+ cells were genetically ablated and determined that macrophages only partially accounted for CSF-1-dependent tubular repair. We found that TECs expressed the CSF-1R and that this receptor was upregulated and coexpressed with CSF-1 in TECs following renal injury in mice and humans. Furthermore, signaling via the CSF-1R stimulated proliferation and reduced apoptosis in human and mouse TECs. Taken together, these data suggest that CSF-1 mediates renal repair by both a macrophage-dependent mechanism and direct autocrine/paracrine action on TECs.
CSF-1, required for macrophage (Mø) survival, proliferation, and activation, is upregulated in the tubular epithelial cells (TECs) during kidney inflammation. CSF-1 mediates Mø-dependent destruction in lupus-susceptible mice with nephritis and, paradoxically, Mø-dependent renal repair in lupus-resistant mice after transient ischemia/reperfusion injury (I/R). We now report that I/R leads to defective renal repair, nonresolving inflammation, and, in turn, early-onset lupus nephritis in preclinical MRL/MpJ-Faslpr/Fas(lpr) mice (MRL-Fas(lpr) mice). Moreover, defective renal repair is not unique to MRL-Fas(lpr) mice, as flawed healing is a feature of other lupus-susceptible mice (Sle 123) and MRL mice without the Fas(lpr) mutation. Increasing CSF-1 hastens renal healing after I/R in lupus-resistant mice but hinders healing, exacerbates nonresolving inflammation, and triggers more severe early-onset lupus nephritis in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Probing further, the time-related balance of M1 "destroyer" Mø shifts toward the M2 "healer" phenotype in lupus-resistant mice after I/R, but M1 Mø continue to dominate in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. Moreover, hypoxic TECs release mediators, including CSF-1, that are responsible for stimulating the expansion of M1 Mø inherently poised to destroy the kidney in MRL-Fas(lpr) mice. In conclusion, I/R induces CSF-1 in injured TECs that expands aberrant Mø (M1 phenotype), mediating defective renal repair and nonresolving inflammation, and thereby hastens the onset of lupus nephritis.
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