A 7-year-old girl with stage IIA extrarenal rhabdoid tumor near the left cubital fossa received preoperative chemotherapy and surgical resection with median nerve reconstruction followed by postoperative high-dose chemotherapy. As preoperative chemotherapy resulted in decreased tumor size, disappearance of fluorodeoxyglucose-uptake, and pathologic complete response with total tumor resection, irradiation was successfully spared to avoid injury to the reconstructed nerve and inhibition of normal bone development. Two years after diagnosis, recurrence has not been observed and median nerve palsy is improving. This case suggests that radiation therapy could be spared for clinically and pathologically chemotherapy-good-responders in case total surgical resection is achieved.
Podocyte injury is the first step in the progression of glomerulosclerosis. Previous studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (Bmp7) in podocyte injury and the existence of native Bmp signaling in podocytes. Local activity of Bmp7 is controlled by cell-type specific Bmp antagonists, which inhibit the binding of Bmp7 to its receptors. Here we show that the product of Twisted gastrulation (Twsg1), a Bmp antagonist, is the central negative regulator of Bmp function in podocytes and that Twsg1 null mice are resistant to podocyte injury. Twsg1 was the most abundant Bmp antagonist in murine cultured podocytes. The administration of Bmp induced podocyte differentiation through Smad signaling, whereas the simultaneous administration of Twsg1 antagonized the effect. The administration of Bmp also inhibited podocyte proliferation, whereas simultaneous administration of Twsg1 antagonized the effect. Twsg1 was expressed in the glomerular parietal cells (PECs) and distal nephron of the healthy kidney, and additionally in damaged glomerular cells in a murine model of podocyte injury. Twsg1 null mice exhibited milder hypoalbuminemia and hyperlipidemia, and milder histological changes while maintaining the expression of podocyte markers during podocyte injury model. Taken together, our results show that Twsg1 plays a critical role in the modulation of protective action of Bmp7 on podocytes, and that inhibition of Twsg1 is a promising means of development of novel treatment for podocyte injury.
The number of nephrons, the functional units of the kidney, varies among individuals. A low nephron number at birth is associated with a risk of hypertension and the progression of renal insufficiency. The molecular mechanisms determining nephron number during embryogenesis have not yet been clarified. Germline knockout of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (Bmp7) results in massive apoptosis of the kidney progenitor cells and defects in early stages of nephrogenesis. This phenotype has precluded analysis of Bmp7 function in the later stage of nephrogenesis. In this study, utilization of conditional null allele of Bmp7 in combination with systemic inducible Cre deleter mice enabled us to analyze Bmp7 function at desired time points during kidney development, and to discover the novel function of Bmp7 to inhibit the precocious differentiation of the progenitor cells to nephron. Systemic knockout of Bmp7 in vivo after the initiation of kidney development results in the precocious differentiation of the kidney progenitor cells to nephron, in addition to the prominent apoptosis of progenitor cells. We also confirmed that in vitro knockout of Bmp7 in kidney explant culture results in the accelerated differentiation of progenitor population. Finally we utilized colony-forming assays and demonstrated that Bmp7 inhibits epithelialization and differentiation of the kidney progenitor cells. These results indicate that the function of Bmp7 to inhibit the precocious differentiation of the progenitor cells together with its anti-apoptotic effect on progenitor cells coordinately maintains renal progenitor pool in undifferentiated status, and determines the nephron number at birth.
In chronic kidney disease, fibroblast dysfunction causes renal fibrosis and renal anemia. Renal fibrosis is mediated by the accumulation of myofibroblasts, whereas renal anemia is mediated by the reduced production of fibroblast-derived erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates erythropoiesis. Despite their importance in chronic kidney disease, the origin and regulatory mechanism of fibroblasts remain unclear. Here, we have demonstrated that the majority of erythropoietin-producing fibroblasts in the healthy kidney originate from myelin protein zero-Cre (P0-Cre) lineage-labeled extrarenal cells, which enter the embryonic kidney at E13.5. In the diseased kidney, P0-Cre lineage-labeled fibroblasts, but not fibroblasts derived from injured tubular epithelial cells through epithelial-mesenchymal transition, transdifferentiated into myofibroblasts and predominantly contributed to fibrosis, with concomitant loss of erythropoietin production. We further demonstrated that attenuated erythropoietin production in transdifferentiated myofibroblasts was restored by the administration of neuroprotective agents, such as dexamethasone and neurotrophins. Moreover, the in vivo administration of tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, restored attenuated erythropoietin production as well as fibrosis in a mouse model of kidney fibrosis. These findings reveal the pathophysiological roles of P0-Cre lineage-labeled fibroblasts in the kidney and clarify the link between renal fibrosis and renal anemia.
The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is a key component of the filtering unit in the kidney. Mutations involving any of the collagen IV genes (COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5) affect GBM assembly and cause Alport syndrome, a progressive hereditary kidney disease with no definitive therapy. Previously, we have demonstrated that the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist uterine sensitization-associated gene-1 (USAG-1) negatively regulates the renoprotective action of BMP-7 in a mouse model of tubular injury during acute renal failure. Here, we investigated the role of USAG-1 in renal function in Col4a3-/- mice, which model Alport syndrome. Ablation of Usag1 in Col4a3-/- mice led to substantial attenuation of disease progression, normalization of GBM ultrastructure, preservation of renal function, and extension of life span. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that USAG-1 and BMP-7 colocalized in the macula densa in the distal tubules, lying in direct contact with glomerular mesangial cells. Furthermore, in cultured mesangial cells, BMP-7 attenuated and USAG-1 enhanced the expression of MMP-12, a protease that may contribute to GBM degradation. These data suggest that the pathogenetic role of USAG-1 in Col4a3-/- mice might involve crosstalk between kidney tubules and the glomerulus and that inhibition of USAG-1 may be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of Alport syndrome.
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