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      Glomerular and Tubular Epithelial Defects in kd/kd Mice Lead to Progressive Renal Failure

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          Background/Aim: The kd/kd mouse spontaneously develops severe and progressive nephritis leading to renal failure, characterized by cellular infiltration, tubular destruction and glomerular sclerosis. Recent identification of the mutant gene and the observation that podocytes are affected, led to the hypothesis that there are primary renal epithelial cell defects in this strain. Methods: Clinical and pathological signs of disease in a large cohort of kd/kd mice were studied by light microscopy, electron microscopy, and biochemical analyses of serum and urine at early stages of disease. Special attention was paid to mice under 140 days of age that had normal blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, but had developed albuminuria. Results: Although overt glomerular abnormalities are commonly observed either coincident with or after tubulointerstitial nephritis, we now report that albuminuria and visceral epithelial abnormalities, including hyperplasia and podocyte effacement may occur before the onset of either elevated BUN levels or severe interstitial nephritis, and this is accompanied by biochemical perturbations in serum typical of the nephrotic syndrome. Conclusions: The results suggest that the defect in kd/kd mice primarily affects both the tubular and glomerular visceral epithelium. The tubular epithelial defect triggers autoimmune interstitial nephritis, whereas a defect in podocytes leads to proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Thus, a single mitochondrial abnormality may result in differences in disease expression that vary with the type of epithelial cells. It is likely that the mitochrondrial perturbations in glomerular and tubular epithelia act in concert, through activation of different pathologic pathways, to accelerate disease progression leading to renal failure.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Mutant prenyltransferase-like mitochondrial protein (PLMP) and mitochondrial abnormalities in kd/kd mice.

          Mice that are homozygous for the kidney disease (kd) mutation are apparently healthy for the first 8 weeks of life, but spontaneously develop a severe form of interstitial nephritis that progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) by 4 to 8 months of age. By testing for linkage to microsatellite markers, we previously localized the kd gene to a YAC/BAC contig. The sequence of the entire critical region was examined, and candidate genes were identified. These candidate genes were sequenced in both mutant (kd/kd) mice and normal controls. The phenotype was further characterized by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Transgenic mice were constructed that carried the wild-type allele of the prime candidate gene, and this transgene was transferred to a kd/kd background by breeding. We have obtained evidence that kd is a mutant allele of a novel gene for a prenyltransferase-like mitochondrial protein (PLMP). This gene is alternatively spliced, with the larger gene product having one domain that resembles transprenyltransferase and another that is similar to geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate synthase. The smaller gene product includes only the first domain. An antiserum to PLMP localizes to mitochondria, and ultrastructural defects are present in the mitochondria of renal tubular epithelial cells, and to a lesser extent, hepatocytes and heart cells from kd/kd mice. In a line of kd/kd mice that carried the wild-type PLMP allele as a transgene, only 1 out of 13 animals expressed the disease by 120 days of age. The kd allele codes for a novel protein that localizes to the mitochondria, and the kd/kd mouse has dysmorphic mitochondria in the renal tubular epithelial cells. This mouse is therefore a unique animal model for studying mechanisms that lead to tubulointerstitial nephritis.
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            The kd/kd mouse is a model of collapsing glomerulopathy.

            Collapsing glomerulopathy (CG) is associated with disorders that markedly perturb the phenotype of podocytes. The kd/kd mouse has been studied for immune and genetic causes of microcystic tubulointerstitial nephritis with little attention to its glomerular lesion. Because histologic examination revealed classic morphologic features of CG, the question arises whether podocytes in kd/kd mice exhibit additional phenotypic criteria for CG. Utilizing Tg26 mice as a positive control, immunohistochemical profiling of the podocyte phenotype was conducted simultaneously on both models. Similar to Tg26 kidneys, podocytes in kd/kd kidneys showed de novo cyclin D1, Ki-67, and desmin expression with loss of synaptopodin and WT-1 expression. Electron micrographs showed collapsed capillaries, extensive foot process effacement, and dysmorphic mitochondria in podocytes. These results indicate that the kd/kd mouse is a model of CG and raise the possibility that human equivalents of the kd susceptibility gene may exist in patients with CG.
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              Divergent effects of leptin in mice susceptible or resistant to obesity.

              Consumption of a high-fat diet decreases hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and increases proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and brown adipose uncoupling protein (UCP)-1 mRNA in obesity-resistant SWR/J but not obesity-prone C57Bl/6J mice. Although leptin was elevated in both strains in response to a high-fat diet, its role in the development of diet-induced obesity has remained unclear since insulin and other factors that affect similar tissue targets are altered. Thus, we administered recombinant leptin by subcutaneous infusion to chow-fed mice to mimic the changes in plasma leptin across its broad physiologic range. We observed strain differences in responsiveness to reduced and elevated leptin levels. A reduction in leptin during fasting evoked a greater response in C57Bl/6J mice by decreasing energy expenditure and thyroxin, increasing corticosterone and stimulating food intake and weight gain during refeeding. However, C57Bl/6J mice were less responsive to an increase in leptin in the fed state. Conversely, the leptin-mediated response to fasting was blunted in SWR/J mice, whereas an increase in leptin profoundly reduced food intake and body weight in SWR/J mice fed ad libitum. Sensitivity to fasting in C57Bl/6J mice was associated with higher hypothalamic NPY mRNA and reduced POMC and UCP-1 mRNA expression, while the robust response to high leptin levels in SWR/J mice was associated with suppression of NPY mRNA. These results indicate that differences in leptin responsiveness between strains might occur centrally or peripherally, leading to alteration in the patterns of food intake, thermogenesis and energy storage.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                December 2005
                09 November 2005
                : 25
                : 6
                : 604-610
                aDepartment of Medicine, bDivision of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, cBiomedical Imaging Core Facility, dInstitute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, eDepartment of Genetics, fDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa., and gDepartment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., USA
                89709 PMC2254218 Am J Nephrol 2005;25:604–610
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 16, Pages: 7
                Self URI (application/pdf):
                Original Report: Laboratory Investigation

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Gene, Nephritis, Podocyte, Albuminuria, Glomerulus


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