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      Isoliquiritigenin Attenuates UUO-Induced Renal Inflammation and Fibrosis by Inhibiting Mincle/Syk/NF-Kappa B Signaling Pathway


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          Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a global nephrotic syndrome characterized by chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis in the kidney. Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), a flavonoid from licorice, has historically been reported to inhibit innate immune responses to inflammation and fibrosis in vivo. However, the effect of ISL on CKD progression is largely unknown.

          Materials and Methods

          In this study, we employed the inflammatory and fibrotic models of LPS/TGF-β-induced bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) in vitro and unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model in vivo to explore the potential effects and mechanism of ISL on renal inflammation and fibrosis.


          Our results manifest that ISL improved UUO-induced renal dysfunction and reduced tubular damage with a significantly downregulated mRNA expression and secretion of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and MCP-1 in vitro and in vivo. It is worth noting that ISL can strongly inhibit the mRNA and protein expression of Mincle (macrophage-induced c-type lectin) in BMDM and UUO. ISL inhibited the phosphorylation of Syk and NF-kappa B and simultaneously reduced the expression of α-SMA and Col III in vivo and in vitro. More interestingly, when dealing with TDB, a ligand of Mincle, it revealed significant reversal of protein expression levels as that observed with ISL. The expressions of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, iNOS, p-Syk, p-NF-kappa B, α-SMA and FN in BMDM inflammatory model were significantly upregulated with TDB treatment. This confirms that ISL inhibits inflammation and fibrosis of macrophage by suppressing Mincle/Syk/NF-kappa B signaling pathway.


          To conclude, ISL protects UUO-induced CKD by inhibiting Mincle-induced inflammation and suppressing renal fibrosis, which might be a specific renal protective mechanism of ISL, making it a novel drug to ameliorate CKD.

          Most cited references29

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          Macrophages: versatile players in renal inflammation and fibrosis

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            Macrophages directly contribute collagen to scar formation during zebrafish heart regeneration and mouse heart repair

            Canonical roles for macrophages in mediating the fibrotic response after a heart attack include extracellular matrix turnover and activation of cardiac fibroblasts to initiate collagen deposition. Here we reveal that macrophages directly contribute collagen to the forming post-injury scar. Unbiased transcriptomics shows an upregulation of collagens in both zebrafish and mouse macrophages following heart injury. Adoptive transfer of macrophages, from either collagen-tagged zebrafish or adult mouse GFPtpz-collagen donors, enhances scar formation via cell autonomous production of collagen. In zebrafish, the majority of tagged collagen localises proximal to the injury, within the overlying epicardial region, suggesting a possible distinction between macrophage-deposited collagen and that predominantly laid-down by myofibroblasts. Macrophage-specific targeting of col4a3bpa and cognate col4a1 in zebrafish significantly reduces scarring in cryoinjured hosts. Our findings contrast with the current model of scarring, whereby collagen deposition is exclusively attributed to myofibroblasts, and implicate macrophages as direct contributors to fibrosis during heart repair.
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              A novel LPS-inducible C-type lectin is a transcriptional target of NF-IL6 in macrophages.

              C-type lectins serve multiple functions through recognizing carbohydrate chains. Here we report a novel C-type lectin, macrophage-inducible C-type lectin (Mincle), as a downstream target of NF-IL6 in macrophages. NF-IL6 belongs to the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) of transcription factors and plays a crucial role in activated macrophages. However, what particular genes are regulated by NF-IL6 has been poorly defined in macrophages. Identification of downstream targets is required to elucidate the function of NF-IL6 in more detail. To identify downstream genes of NF-IL6, we screened a subtraction library constructed from wild-type and NF-IL6-deficient peritoneal macrophages and isolated Mincle that exhibits the highest homology to the members of group II C-type lectins. Mincle mRNA expression was strongly induced in response to several inflammatory stimuli, such as LPS, TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IFN-gamma in wild-type macrophages. In contrast, NF-IL6-deficient macrophages displayed a much lower level of Mincle mRNA induction following treatment with these inflammatory reagents. The mouse Mincle proximal promoter region contains an indispensable NF-IL6 binding element, demonstrating that Mincle is a direct target of NF-IL6. The Mincle gene locus was mapped at 0.6 centiMorgans proximal to CD4 on mouse chromosome 6.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                14 April 2020
                : 14
                : 1455-1468
                [1 ]Research Center of Combine Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Affiliated Traditional Medicine Hospital, Southwest Medical University , Luzhou, Sichuan 646000, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Chengdu Medical College , Chengdu, Sichuan 610000, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Li Wang Research Center of Combine Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Affiliated Traditional Medicine Hospital, Southwest Medical University , 319 # Zhongshan Road, Luzhou, Sichuan646000, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 0830 3161222 Email wangli120@swmu.edu.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Liao et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                : 25 December 2019
                : 31 March 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, References: 38, Pages: 14
                Original Research

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                isoliquiritigenin, mincle, macrophage, ckd, inflammation, fibrosis


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