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      Serum Response Factor Accelerates the High Glucose-Induced Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) via Snail Signaling in Human Peritoneal Mesothelial Cells

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          Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) induced by glucose in human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) is a major cause of peritoneal membrane (PM) fibrosis and dysfunction.


          To investigate serum response factor (SRF) impacts on EMT-derived fibrosis in PM, we isolated HPMCs from the effluents of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to analyze alterations during peritoneal dialysis (PD) and observe the response of PM to SRF in a rat model.


          Our results demonstrated the activation and translocation of SRF into the nuclei of HPMCs under extensive periods of PD. Accordingly, HPMCs lost their epithelial morphology with a decrease in E-cadherin expression and an increase in α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression, implying a transition in phenotype. PD with 4.25% glucose solution significantly induced SRF up-regulation and increased peritoneal thickness. In immortal HPMCs, high glucose (HG, 60 mmol/L) stimulated SRF overexpression in transformed fibroblastic HPMCs. SRF-siRNA preserved HPMC morphology, while transfection of SRF plasmid into HPMCs caused the opposite effects. Evidence from electrophoretic mobility shift, chromatin immunoprecipitation and reporter assays further supported that SRF transcriptionally regulated Snail, a potent inducer of EMT, by directly binding to its promoter.


          Our data suggested that activation of SRF/Snail pathway might contribute to the progressive PM fibrosis during PD.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Evidence that fibroblasts derive from epithelium during tissue fibrosis.

          Interstitial fibroblasts are principal effector cells of organ fibrosis in kidneys, lungs, and liver. While some view fibroblasts in adult tissues as nothing more than primitive mesenchymal cells surviving embryologic development, they differ from mesenchymal cells in their unique expression of fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP1). This difference raises questions about their origin. Using bone marrow chimeras and transgenic reporter mice, we show here that interstitial kidney fibroblasts derive from two sources. A small number of FSP1(+), CD34(-) fibroblasts migrate to normal interstitial spaces from bone marrow. More surprisingly, however, FSP1(+) fibroblasts also arise in large numbers by local epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during renal fibrogenesis. Both populations of fibroblasts express collagen type I and expand by cell division during tissue fibrosis. Our findings suggest that a substantial number of organ fibroblasts appear through a novel reversal in the direction of epithelial cell fate. As a general mechanism, this change in fate highlights the potential plasticity of differentiated cells in adult tissues under pathologic conditions.
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            Peritoneal dialysis and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of mesothelial cells.

            During continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, the peritoneum is exposed to bioincompatible dialysis fluids that cause denudation of mesothelial cells and, ultimately, tissue fibrosis and failure of ultrafiltration. However, the mechanism of this process has yet to be elucidated. Mesothelial cells isolated from effluents in dialysis fluid from patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis were phenotypically characterized by flow cytometry, confocal immunofluorescence, Western blotting, and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. These cells were compared with mesothelial cells from omentum and treated with various stimuli in vitro to mimic the transdifferentiation observed during continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Results were confirmed in vivo by immunohistochemical analysis performed on peritoneal-biopsy specimens. Soon after dialysis is initiated, peritoneal mesothelial cells undergo a transition from an epithelial phenotype to a mesenchymal phenotype with a progressive loss of epithelial morphology and a decrease in the expression of cytokeratins and E-cadherin through an induction of the transcriptional repressor snail. Mesothelial cells also acquire a migratory phenotype with the up-regulation of expression of alpha2 integrin. In vitro analyses point to wound repair and profibrotic and inflammatory cytokines as factors that initiate mesothelial transdifferentiation. Immunohistochemical studies of peritoneal-biopsy specimens from patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis demonstrate the expression of the mesothelial markers intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and cytokeratins in fibroblast-like cells entrapped in the stroma, suggesting that these cells stemmed from local conversion of mesothelial cells. Our results suggest that mesothelial cells have an active role in the structural and functional alteration of the peritoneum during peritoneal dialysis. The findings suggest potential targets for the design of new dialysis solutions and markers for the monitoring of patients. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Morphologic changes in the peritoneal membrane of patients with renal disease.

              This study examined the morphologic features of the parietal peritoneal membranes of 130 patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis (PD) and compared them with the features of the peritoneal membranes of normal individuals, uremic predialysis patients, and patients undergoing hemodialysis. The median thickness of the submesothelial compact collagenous zone was 50 microm for normal subjects, 140 microm for uremic patients, 150 microm for patients undergoing hemodialysis, and 270 microm for patients undergoing PD (P 97 mo, 700 microm (n = 19)]. Vascular changes included progressive subendothelial hyalinization, with luminal narrowing or obliteration. These changes were absent in samples from normal subjects but were present in 28% of samples from uremic patients and 56% of biopsies from patients undergoing PD. In the PD group, the prevalence of vasculopathy increased significantly with therapy duration (P = 0.0001). The density of blood vessels per unit length of peritoneum was significantly higher for patients with membrane failure and was correlated with the degree of fibrosis (P = 0.01). For the first time, a comprehensive cross-sectional analysis of the morphologic changes in the peritoneal membranes of patients undergoing PD is provided. The infrequency of fibrosis in the absence of vasculopathy suggests that vasculopathy may predispose patients to the development of fibrosis. This study provides a sufficiently large cohort of samples to allow structure-function relationships to be established, as well as providing a repository of tissue for further studies.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                10 October 2014
                : 9
                : 10
                [1 ]Department of Nephrology, Xijing Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaan xi, China
                [2 ]State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, Xijing Hospital, the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaan xi, China
                [3 ]Department of Nephrology, Xingyuan Hospital, the Fourth Hospital of Yulin, Yulin, Shaan xi, China
                [4 ]Department of Nephrology, the Ninth Hospital of Xi'an, Xi'an, Shaan xi, China
                [5 ]Department of Nephrology, State Key Laboratory of Kidney Diseases, Chinese PLA General Hospital and Medical College, Beijing, China
                National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, Greece
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: LJH. Performed the experiments: WJL LHJ WL. Analyzed the data: LJH HMW XMC SRS. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: MLZ GSX LJZ CH RL. Wrote the paper: LJH.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 10
                This study was supported by grants from the National Scientific Foundation of China (81270849, 81270768, 2012K16-08-05, 81170670, 2011BAI10B08). All of the funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Renal System
                Renal Physiology
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Medical Dialysis
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Model Organisms
                Animal Models



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