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      Vegfa Protects the Glomerular Microvasculature in Diabetes

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          Abstract

          Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) expression is increased in glomeruli in the context of diabetes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this upregulation of VEGFA protects the glomerular microvasculature in diabetes and that therefore inhibition of VEGFA will accelerate nephropathy. To determine the role of glomerular Vegfa in the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy, we used an inducible Cre-loxP gene-targeting system that enabled genetic deletion of Vegfa selectively from glomerular podocytes of wild-type or diabetic mice. Type 1 diabetes was induced in mice using streptozotocin (STZ). We then assessed the extent of glomerular dysfunction by measuring proteinuria, glomerular pathology, and glomerular cell apoptosis. Vegfa expression increased in podocytes in the STZ model of diabetes. After 7 weeks of diabetes, diabetic mice lacking Vegfa in podocytes exhibited significantly greater proteinuria with profound glomerular scarring and increased apoptosis compared with control mice with diabetes or Vegfa deletion without diabetes. Reduced local production of glomerular Vegfa in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes promotes endothelial injury accelerating the progression of glomerular injury. These results suggest that upregulation of VEGFA in diabetic kidneys protects the microvasculature from injury and that reduction of VEGFA in diabetes may be harmful.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Pathologic classification of diabetic nephropathy.

          Although pathologic classifications exist for several renal diseases, including IgA nephropathy, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and lupus nephritis, a uniform classification for diabetic nephropathy is lacking. Our aim, commissioned by the Research Committee of the Renal Pathology Society, was to develop a consensus classification combining type1 and type 2 diabetic nephropathies. Such a classification should discriminate lesions by various degrees of severity that would be easy to use internationally in clinical practice. We divide diabetic nephropathy into four hierarchical glomerular lesions with a separate evaluation for degrees of interstitial and vascular involvement. Biopsies diagnosed as diabetic nephropathy are classified as follows: Class I, glomerular basement membrane thickening: isolated glomerular basement membrane thickening and only mild, nonspecific changes by light microscopy that do not meet the criteria of classes II through IV. Class II, mesangial expansion, mild (IIa) or severe (IIb): glomeruli classified as mild or severe mesangial expansion but without nodular sclerosis (Kimmelstiel-Wilson lesions) or global glomerulosclerosis in more than 50% of glomeruli. Class III, nodular sclerosis (Kimmelstiel-Wilson lesions): at least one glomerulus with nodular increase in mesangial matrix (Kimmelstiel-Wilson) without changes described in class IV. Class IV, advanced diabetic glomerulosclerosis: more than 50% global glomerulosclerosis with other clinical or pathologic evidence that sclerosis is attributable to diabetic nephropathy. A good interobserver reproducibility for the four classes of DN was shown (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.84) in a test of this classification.
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            Glomerular-specific alterations of VEGF-A expression lead to distinct congenital and acquired renal diseases.

            Kidney disease affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Although the causes of renal failure are diverse, the glomerular filtration barrier is often the target of injury. Dysregulation of VEGF expression within the glomerulus has been demonstrated in a wide range of primary and acquired renal diseases, although the significance of these changes is unknown. In the glomerulus, VEGF-A is highly expressed in podocytes that make up a major portion of the barrier between the blood and urinary spaces. In this paper, we show that glomerular-selective deletion or overexpression of VEGF-A leads to glomerular disease in mice. Podocyte-specific heterozygosity for VEGF-A resulted in renal disease by 2.5 weeks of age, characterized by proteinuria and endotheliosis, the renal lesion seen in preeclampsia. Homozygous deletion of VEGF-A in glomeruli resulted in perinatal lethality. Mutant kidneys failed to develop a filtration barrier due to defects in endothelial cell migration, differentiation, and survival. In contrast, podocyte-specific overexpression of the VEGF-164 isoform led to a striking collapsing glomerulopathy, the lesion seen in HIV-associated nephropathy. Our data demonstrate that tight regulation of VEGF-A signaling is critical for establishment and maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier and strongly supports a pivotal role for VEGF-A in renal disease.
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              Mouse models of diabetic nephropathy.

              Diabetic nephropathy is a major cause of ESRD worldwide. Despite its prevalence, a lack of reliable animal models that mimic human disease has delayed the identification of specific factors that cause or predict diabetic nephropathy. The Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium (AMDCC) was created in 2001 by the National Institutes of Health to develop and characterize models of diabetic nephropathy and other complications. This interim report and our online supplement detail the progress made toward that goal, specifically in the development and testing of murine models. Updates are provided on validation criteria for early and advanced diabetic nephropathy, phenotyping methods, the effect of background strain on nephropathy, current best models of diabetic nephropathy, negative models, and views of future directions. AMDCC investigators and other investigators in the field have yet to validate a complete murine model of human diabetic kidney disease. Nonetheless, the critical analysis of existing murine models substantially enhances our understanding of this disease process.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Diabetes
                Diabetes
                diabetes
                diabetes
                Diabetes
                Diabetes
                American Diabetes Association
                0012-1797
                1939-327X
                November 2012
                16 October 2012
                : 61
                : 11
                : 2958-2966
                Affiliations
                1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                2Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands
                3Division of Nephrology, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                4Department of Medicine, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Susan E. Quaggin, quaggin@ 123456lunenfeld.ca .
                Article
                1655
                10.2337/db11-1655
                3478549
                23093658
                © 2012 by the American Diabetes Association.

                Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ for details.

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                Complications

                Endocrinology & Diabetes

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