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      Role of Peritubular Capillary Loss and Hypoxia in Progressive Tubulointerstitial Fibrosis in a Rat Model of Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy

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          Abstract

          Background/Aims: To investigate the effects of peritubular capillary (PTC) loss and hypoxia on the progression of tubulointerstitial fibrosis in a rat model of aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). Methods: Female Wistar rats received Caulis aristolochiae manshuriensis (CAM) decoction by gavage for 8 weeks, and were sacrificed at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, respectively, after administration. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine (Scr) and urinary protein were monitored prior to sacrifice. PTC loss and tubulointerstitial hypoxia were assessed by CD34 immunostaining and hypoxia-inducible factor-α subunit 1 (HIF-1α) expression, respectively. Myofibroblasts were assessed by α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression. The expression of angiogenic factor was assessed by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Results: AAN rats differed from controls by increased BUN, Scr and 24-hour urinary protein excretion rates. There was a progressive loss of PTCs in the AAN model, which was associated with the decreased expression of VEGF. A significant increase in nuclear localization of HIF-1α was seen 16 weeks after treatment with CAM decoction in the context of severe tubulointerstitial damage. Multifocal tubulointerstitial fibrosis was seen in AAN rats at weeks 12 and 16, predominantly in the area of the outer stripe and outer medulla. No significant pathologic changes were found in control rats. Conclusion: Following the reduction of PTCs density and up-regulation of HIF-1α, the tubulointerstitial fibrosis area increased. Ischemia and hypoxia are the important causes of severe tubulointerstitial fibrosis in AAN rats.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Role of vascular endothelial growth factor in the regulation of angiogenesis.

           N Ferrara (1999)
          Compelling evidence indicates that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a fundamental regulator of normal and abnormal angiogenesis. The loss of a single VEGF allele results in defective vascularization and early embryonic lethality. VEGF plays also a critical role in kidney development, and its inactivation during early postnatal life results in the suppression of glomerular development and kidney failure. Recent evidence indicates that VEGF is also essential for angiogenesis in the female reproductive tract and for morphogenesis of the epiphyseal growth plate and endochondral bone formation. Substantial experimental evidence also implicates VEGF in pathological angiogenesis. Anti-VEGF monoclonal antibodies or other VEGF inhibitors block the growth of several human tumor cell lines in nude mice. Furthermore, the concentrations of VEGF are elevated in the aqueous and vitreous humors of patients with proliferative retinopathies such as the diabetic retinopathy. In addition, VEGF-induced angiogenesis results in a therapeutic benefit in several animal models of myocardial or limb ischemia. Currently, both therapeutic angiogenesis using recombinant VEGF or VEGF gene transfer and inhibition of VEGF-mediated pathological angiogenesis are being pursued clinically.
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            Hypoxia promotes fibrogenesis in human renal fibroblasts.

            The mechanisms underlying progressive renal fibrosis are unknown, but the common association of fibrosis and microvascular loss suggests that hypoxia per se may be a fibrogenic stimulus. To determine whether human renal fibroblasts (HRFs), the primary matrix-producing cells in the tubulointerstitium, possess oxygen-sensitive responses relevant to fibrogenesis, cells were exposed to 1% O2 in vitro. Hypoxia simultaneously stimulated extracellular matrix synthesis and suppressed turnover with increased production of collagen alpha1(I) (Coll-I), decreased expression of collagenase, and increased tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1. These effects are time dependent, require new RNA and protein synthesis, and are specific to hypoxia. The changes in Coll-I and TIMP-1 gene expression involve a heme-protein O2 sensor and protein kinase- and tyrosine kinase-mediated signaling. Although hypoxia induced transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1), neutralizing anti-TGF-beta1-antibody did not block hypoxia-induced Coll-I and TIMP-1 mRNA expression. Furthermore, hypoxic-cell conditioned-medium had no effect on the expression of these mRNAs in naive fibroblasts, suggesting direct effects on gene transcription. Transient transfections identified a hypoxia response element (HRE) in the TIMP-1 promoter and demonstrated HIF-1-dependent promoter activation by decreased ambient pO2. These data suggest that hypoxia co-ordinately up-regulates matrix production and decreases turnover in renal fibroblasts. The results support a role for hypoxia in the pathogenesis of fibrosis and provide evidence for novel, direct hypoxic effects on the expression of genes involved in fibrogenesis.
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              Peritubular capillary loss is associated with chronic tubulointerstitial injury in human kidney: altered expression of vascular endothelial growth factor.

              Chronic tubulointerstitial injury (CTI) including tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis represents one major determinant for the progression of chronic renal disease regardless of cause. Although peritubular capillaries (PTCs) are essential to maintain the normal structure and function of renal tubules, little is known about the role of PTCs in the development of CTI. The integrity of PTCs seems to be regulated by growth factors. Vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) has recently been recognized as a potent regulator of angiogenesis, vascular survival, and vascular permeability. Knowledge of the role of VEGF in renal disease is still rudimentary, and its role in CTI has not been explored. We analyzed the morphologic changes of PTCs and correlated them with other morphologic parameters of CTI in 32 human kidneys with various types of chronic tubulointerstitial disease. The VEGF expression was immunohistochemically evaluated. Compared with normal kidney, PTC loss (41% to 55% of control) and reduced size of PTCs (55% to 88% of control) were noted in kidneys with CTI. The PTC density was positively correlated with the proximal tubular density (r = 0.66, P <.0001), proximal tubular size (r = 0.54, P <.001), and negatively correlated with interstitial volume (r = -0.84, P <.0001). Compared with normal kidney, where podocytes were the only cell type that constantly expressed VEGF, an interesting pattern of increased VEGF expression by renal tubules, especially morphologically intact or hypertrophic ones, was shared by all cases with CTI. Loss of VEGF in sclerotic glomeruli was noted. PTC injury is pathogenetically linked to tubular atrophy, tubular loss, and interstitial fibrosis in human kidneys with CTI and might be a key factor for the progression of chronic tubulointerstitial disease. The characteristic and uniform pattern of altered VEGF expression in kidneys with CTI may result from ischemia induced by PTC loss and represent a protective mechanism against further PTC injuries. HUM PATHOL 31:1491-1497. Copyright 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                AJN
                Am J Nephrol
                10.1159/issn.0250-8095
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                0250-8095
                1421-9670
                2006
                September 2006
                15 September 2006
                : 26
                : 4
                : 363-371
                Affiliations
                aDepartment of Nephrology, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, and bDepartment of Nephrology, Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, PR China
                Article
                94778 Am J Nephrol 2006;26:363–371
                10.1159/000094778
                16873992
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, References: 32, Pages: 9
                Product
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/94778
                Categories
                Original Report: Laboratory Investigation

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