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      Mineralocorticoid and SGK1-Sensitive Inflammation and Tissue Fibrosis

      a , b , *
      Nephron Physiology
      S. Karger AG
      Mineralocorticoid receptor, TGF-β, SGK1, Connective tissue growth factor, TH17 cells

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          Effects of mineralocorticoids are not restricted to regulation of epithelial salt transport, extracellular volume and blood pressure; mineralocorticoids also influence a wide variety of seemingly unrelated functions such as inflammation and fibrosis. The present brief review addresses the role of mineralocorticoids in the orchestration of these latter processes. Mineralocorticoids foster inflammation as well as vascular, cardiac, renal and peritoneal fibrosis. Mechanisms involved in mineralocorticoid-sensitive inflammation and fibrosis include the serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1), which is genomically upregulated by mineralocorticoids and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), and stimulated by mineralocorticoid-sensitive phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase. SGK1 upregulates the inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-κB, which in turn stimulates the expression of diverse inflammatory mediators including connective tissue growth factor. Moreover, SGK1 inhibits the degradation of the TGF-β-dependent transcription factors Smad2/3. Mineralocorticoids foster the development of T<sub>H</sub>17 cells, which is compromised following SGK1 deletion. Excessive SGK1 expression is observed in a wide variety of fibrosing diseases including lung fibrosis, diabetic nephropathy, glomerulonephritis, obstructive kidney disease, experimental nephrotic syndrome, obstructive nephropathy, liver cirrhosis, fibrosing pancreatitis, peritoneal fibrosis, Crohn's disease and celiac disease. The untoward inflammatory and fibrosing effects of mineralocorticoids could be blunted or even reversed by mineralocorticoid receptor blockers, which may thus be considered in the treatment of inflammatory and/or fibrosing disease.

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          Aldosterone: effects on the kidney and cardiovascular system.

          Aldosterone, a steroid hormone with mineralocorticoid activity, is mainly recognized for its action on sodium reabsorption in the distal nephron of the kidney, which is mediated by the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). Beyond this well-known action, however, aldosterone exerts other effects on the kidney, blood vessels and the heart, which can have pathophysiological consequences, particularly in the presence of a high salt intake. Aldosterone is implicated in renal inflammatory and fibrotic processes, as well as in podocyte injury and mesangial cell proliferation. In the cardiovascular system, aldosterone has specific hypertrophic and fibrotic effects and can alter endothelial function. Several lines of evidence support the existence of crosstalk between aldosterone and angiotensin II in vascular smooth muscle cells. The deleterious effects of aldosterone on the cardiovascular system require concomitant pathophysiological conditions such as a high salt diet, increased oxidative stress, or inflammation. Large interventional trials have confirmed the benefits of adding mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists to standard therapy, in particular to angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin II receptor blocker therapy, in patients with heart failure. Small interventional studies in patients with chronic kidney disease have shown promising results, with a significant reduction of proteinuria associated with aldosterone antagonism, but large interventional trials that test the efficacy and safety of mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists in chronic kidney disease are needed.
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            Spironolactone decreases DOCA-salt-induced organ damage by blocking the activation of T helper 17 and the downregulation of regulatory T lymphocytes.

            Adaptive immune response has been implicated in inflammation and fibrosis as a result of exposure to mineralocorticoids and a high-salt diet. We hypothesized that in mineralocorticoid-salt-induced hypertension, activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor alters the T-helper 17 lymphocyte (Th17)/regulatory T-lymphocyte/interleukin-17 (IL-17) pathway, contributing to cardiac and renal damage. We studied the inflammatory response and tissue damage in rats treated with deoxycorticosterone acetate and high-salt diet (DOCA-salt), with or without mineralocorticoid receptor inhibition by spironolactone. To determine whether Th17 differentiation in DOCA-salt rats is caused by hypertension per se, DOCA-salt rats received antihypertensive therapy. In addition, to evaluate the pathogenic role of IL-17 in hypertension and tissue damage, we studied the effect of IL-17 blockade with a specific antibody (anti-IL-17). We found activation of Th17 cells and downregulation of forkhead box P3 mRNA in peripheral tissues, heart, and kidneys of DOCA-salt-treated rats. Spironolactone treatment prevented Th17 cell activation and increased numbers of forkhead box P3-positive cells relative to DOCA-salt rats. Antihypertensive therapy did not ameliorate Th17 activation in rats. Treatment of DOCA-salt rats with anti-IL-17 significantly reduced arterial hypertension as well as expression of profibrotic and proinflammatory mediators and collagen deposits in the heart and kidney. We conclude that mineralocorticoid receptor activation alters the Th17/regulatory T-lymphocyte/IL-17 pathway in mineralocorticoid-dependent hypertension as part of an inflammatory mechanism contributing to fibrosis.
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              Immune mechanisms in hypertension and vascular injury.

              Over the last 20 years it has become recognized that low-grade inflammation plays a role in cardiovascular disease. More recently, participation of the innate and the adaptive immune response in mechanisms that contribute to inflammation in cardiovascular disease has been reported in atherosclerosis and hypertension. Different subsets of lymphocytes and their cytokines are involved in vascular remodelling in hypertension, chronic kidney disease and heart disease. Effector T-cells include Th1 (interferon-γ-producing) and Th2 (interleukin-4 producing) lymphocytes, as well as Th17 (which produce interleukin-17) and T-suppressor lymphocytes such as T(reg)-cells (regulatory T-cells), which express the transcription factor Foxp3 (forkhead box P3) and participate respectively as pro- and anti-inflammatory cells. Pro-inflammatory T-lymphocytes participate in mechanisms of cardiovascular disease in part by mediating the effects of angiotensin II and mineralocorticoids. Involvement of immune mechanisms in cardiac, vascular and renal changes in hypertension has been demonstrated in many experimental models, an example being the Dahl-salt sensitive rat and the spontaneously hypertensive rat. How activation of immunity is triggered remains unknown, but neo-antigens could be generated by elevated blood pressure through damage-associated molecular pattern receptors or other mechanisms. Once activated, Th1 cells may contribute to blood pressure elevation by affecting the kidney, vascular remodelling of blood vessels directly via the effects of the cytokines produced or through their effects on perivascular fat. T(reg)-cells protect from blood pressure elevation by acting upon similar targets. Recent data suggests that participation of these mechanisms that have been demonstrated already in murine models also occurs in humans. These novel findings may open the way for new therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes in hypertension and cardiovascular disease in humans.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Physiol
                Nephron Physiology
                S. Karger AG
                December 2014
                06 November 2014
                : 128
                : 1-2
                : 35-39
                Departments of aInternal Medicine and bPhysiology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
                Author notes
                *Prof. Florian Lang, Department of Physiology, University of Tübingen, Gmelinstrasse 5, DE-72076 Tübingen (Germany), E-Mail florian.lang@uni-tuebingen.de
                Author information
                368267 Nephron Physiol 2014;128:35-39
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Pages: 5

                Cardiovascular Medicine,Nephrology
                TGF-β,Connective tissue growth factor,Mineralocorticoid receptor,SGK1,TH17 cells


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