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      Pathophysiological Role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in the Remnant Kidney

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          Background: Subtotal renal ablation is characterized by initial glomerular hypertrophy, followed by progressive development of glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in glomerular hypertrophy and dysfunction in several pathophysiological conditions. On the other hand, progressive glomerulosclerosis and tubulo-interstitial fibrosis in the remnant kidney have been associated with loss of VEGF expression. Methods: To explore the pathophysiological role of VEGF in the development of glomerular hypertrophy and renal damage in the remnant kidney model, we examined the effect of a neutralizing VEGF antibody on glomerular volume and kidney function in rats after subtotal nephrectomy or sham operation. Erythropoietin was administered to exclude a confounding effect of anaemia. Results: Six weeks after subtotal nephrectomy, plasma urea and creatinine concentrations, urinary albumin excretion, and mean glomerular volume were elevated in the placebo-treated uraemic rats as compared with the sham-operated rats. Inhibition of VEGF partially prevented the glomerular hypertrophy and largely prevented the rise in urinary albumin excretion, but did not affect creatinine clearance in uraemic rats. Conclusions: VEGF is a mediator of glomerular hypertrophy after subtotal renal ablation. In view of glomerular hypertrophy as the initial deleterious event ultimately leading to progressive glomerulosclerosis, agents that block this glomerular growth could be useful in preventing scarring in progressive renal disease.

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          Most cited references 12

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          The role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in renal pathophysiology.

          Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an endothelial-specific growth factor that promotes endothelial cell proliferation, differentiation and survival, mediates endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, induces microvascular hyperpermeability and participates in interstitial matrix remodeling. In the kidney, VEGF expression is most prominent in glomerular podocytes and in tubular epithelial cells, while VEGF receptors are mainly found on preglomerular, glomerular, and peritubular endothelial cells. The role of VEGF in normal renal physiology is essentially unknown. The absence of prominent effects of VEGF blockade in normal experimental animals suggests a limited function during homeostasis, although a role in the formation and maintenance of glomerular capillary endothelial fenestrations has been suggested. VEGF and its receptors are up-regulated in experimental animals and humans with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Inhibition of VEGF has beneficial effects on diabetes-induced functional and structural alterations, suggesting a deleterious role for VEGF in the pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy. VEGF is required for glomerular and tubular hypertrophy and proliferation in response to nephron reduction, and loss of VEGF is associated with the development of glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the remnant kidney. No firm conclusions on the role of VEGF in minimal change or membranous glomerulonephritis can be drawn. VEGF may be an essential mediator of glomerular recovery in proliferative glomerulonephritis. Glomerular and tubulointerstitial repair in thrombotic microangiopathy and cyclosporin nephrotoxicity may also be VEGF-dependent. In conclusion, VEGF is required for growth and proliferation of glomerular and peritubular endothelial cells. While deleterious in some, it may contribute to recovery in other forms of renal diseases.
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            Neutralization of circulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by anti-VEGF antibodies and soluble VEGF receptor 1 (sFlt-1) induces proteinuria.

            There are about 2.5 million glomeruli in the kidneys each consisting of a barrel of glomerular basement membrane surrounded by glomerular endothelial cells on the inside and glomerular epithelial cells with established foot processes (podocytes) on the outside. Defects in this filtration apparatus lead to glomerular vascular leak or proteinuria. The role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the regulation of glomerular vascular permeability is still unclear. Recent studies indicate that patients receiving anti-VEGF antibody therapy may have an increased incidence of proteinuria. In a different setting, pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia are associated with elevated soluble VEGF receptor 1 protein (sFlt-1), endothelial cell dysfunction and proteinuria. These studies suggest that neutralization of physiologic levels of VEGF, a key endothelial survival factor, may lead to proteinuria. In the present study, we evaluated the potential of anti-VEGF neutralizing antibodies and sFlt-1 in the induction of proteinuria. Our studies demonstrate that anti-VEGF antibodies and sFlt-1 cause rapid glomerular endothelial cell detachment and hypertrophy, in association with down-regulation of nephrin, a key epithelial protein in the glomerular filtration apparatus. These studies suggest that down-regulation or neutralization of circulating VEGF may play an important role in the induction of proteinuria in various kidney diseases, some forms of cancer therapy and also in women with preeclampsia.
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              Amelioration of long-term renal changes in obese type 2 diabetic mice by a neutralizing vascular endothelial growth factor antibody.

              Diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetic patients is a frequent complication associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Various growth factors and cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). To explore a role for VEGF in renal changes in type 2 diabetes, we examined the renal effects of a neutralizing murine VEGF antibody in the diabetic db/db mouse, a model of obese type 2 diabetes. One group of db/db mice was treated for 2 months with a VEGF antibody, while another db/db group was treated for the same period with an isotype-matched irrelevant IgG. A third group consisting of nondiabetic db/+ mice was treated with the same isotype-matched IgG for 2 months. Placebo-treated db/db mice showed a pronounced increase in kidney weight, glomerular volume, basement membrane thickness (BMT), total mesangial volume, urinary albumin excretion (UAE), and creatinine clearance (CrCl) when compared with nondiabetic controls. In VEGF antibody-treated db/db mice, increases in kidney weight, glomerular volume, BMT, and UAE were attenuated, whereas the increase in CrCl was abolished. VEGF antibody administration tended to reduce expansion in total mesangial volume. These effects in diabetic animals were seen without impact on body weight, blood glucose, insulin levels, or food consumption. In conclusion, chronic inhibition of VEGF in db/db mice ameliorates the diabetic renal changes seen in type 2 diabetes.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                September 2005
                30 May 2005
                : 101
                : 1
                : e9-e15
                aRenal Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Gent University Hospital, Gent, and bRenal Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, AZ Sint-Jan AV, Brugge, Belgium; cMedical Research Laboratories, Clinical Institute, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, and dDepartment of Cell Biology, Institute of Anatomy, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; eDivision of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Tex., USA
                86034 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2005;101:e9–e15
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, References: 27, Pages: 1
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/86034
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