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      Apoptosis and Myofibroblast Expression in Human Glomerular Disease: A Possible Link with Transforming Growth Factor-Beta-1

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          Abstract

          Background/Aims: The pathophysiological pathways involved in the pathogenesis and evolution of renal fibrosis, have not been fully elucidated. Transforming growth factor-beta<sub>1</sub> (TGF-β<sub>1</sub>) is involved in the development of renal scarring. Apoptosis is responsible for intrinsic cell deletion observed in end-stage kidney disease. Myofibroblasts are involved in the development of renal fibrosis. This study investigates whether there is a potential relationship between apoptosis, myofibroblast infiltration and TGF-β<sub>1</sub> expression in the kidney of patients with glomerulonephritis (GN). Methods: Forty patients with various types of GN were included in the study. Myofibroblasts and TGF-β<sub>1</sub> positive cells were detected in kidney biopsies by immunohistochemistry, while apoptotic cells were detected by the in situ end labelling of fragmented DNA. Results: Myofibroblasts were identified in the glomeruli of some patients with severe mesangioproliferative GN and glomerulosclerosis but a more intensive myofibroblast expression was found in the renal interstitium. TGF-β<sub>1</sub> was expressed in the cytoplasm of tubular epithelial cells, in the renal interstitium and in the glomeruli of patients with GN. Apoptotic cells were mainly detected in the tubules and interstitium and were present in areas with intense myofibroblast infiltration. Positive correlations were observed between the intensity of myofibroblast expression in the interstitium and apoptosis in the tubulointerstitial area (r = 0.521, p < 0.01) as well as TGF-β<sub>1</sub> expression (r = 0.462, p < 0.05) and degree of renal impairment (r = 0.430, p < 0.05). Conclusions: These observations suggest that myofibroblast infiltration and apoptosis along with TGF-β<sub>1</sub> expression are associated with the development of interstitial fibrosis in patients with glomerular disease.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Identification of programmed cell death in situ via specific labeling of nuclear DNA fragmentation

          Programmed cell death (PCD) plays a key role in developmental biology and in maintenance of the steady state in continuously renewing tissues. Currently, its existence is inferred mainly from gel electrophoresis of a pooled DNA extract as PCD was shown to be associated with DNA fragmentation. Based on this observation, we describe here the development of a method for the in situ visualization of PCD at the single-cell level, while preserving tissue architecture. Conventional histological sections, pretreated with protease, were nick end labeled with biotinylated poly dU, introduced by terminal deoxy- transferase, and then stained using avidin-conjugated peroxidase. The reaction is specific, only nuclei located at positions where PCD is expected are stained. The initial screening includes: small and large intestine, epidermis, lymphoid tissues, ovary, and other organs. A detailed analysis revealed that the process is initiated at the nuclear periphery, it is relatively short (1-3 h from initiation to cell elimination) and that PCD appears in tissues in clusters. The extent of tissue-PCD revealed by this method is considerably greater than apoptosis detected by nuclear morphology, and thus opens the way for a variety of studies.
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            Suppression of experimental glomerulonephritis by antiserum against transforming growth factor beta 1.

            Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney characterized by the accumulation of extracellular matrix within the damaged glomeruli, impaired filtration and proteinuria. In its progressive form, the disease destroys kidney function leading to uraemia and death, unless dialysis therapy or kidney transplantation is available. The pathogenesis of glomerulonephritis is incompletely understood, but the eliciting factor is thought often to be an immunological injury to mesangial and/or other resident cells in the glomeruli. We have used an animal model of acute mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis to show that this disease is associated with increased production and activity of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1), an inducer of extracellular matrix production. Here we report that administration of anti-TGF-beta 1 at the time of induction of the glomerular disease suppresses the increased production of extracellular matrix and dramatically attenuates histological manifestations of the disease. These results provide direct evidence for a causal role of TGF-beta 1 in the pathogenesis of the experimental disease and suggest a new approach to the therapy of glomerulonephritis.
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              Transforming growth factor-beta regulates tubular epithelial-myofibroblast transdifferentiation in vitro.

              We recently found evidence of tubular epithelial-myofibroblast transdifferentiation (TEMT) during the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the rat remnant kidney. This study investigated the mechanisms that induce TEMT in vitro. The normal rat kidney tubular epithelial cell line (NRK52E) was cultured for six days on plastic or collagen type I-coated plates in the presence or absence of recombinant transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1). Transdifferentiation of tubular cells into myofibroblasts was assessed by electron microscopy and by expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and E-cadherin. NRK52E cells cultured on plastic or collagen-coated plates showed a classic cobblestone morphology. Culture in 1 ng/ml TGF-beta caused only very minor changes in morphology, but culture in 10 or 50 ng/ml TGF-beta1 caused profound changes. This involved hypertrophy, a loss of apical-basal polarity and microvilli, with cells becoming elongated and invasive, the formation of a new front-end back-end polarity, and the appearance of actin microfilaments and dense bodies. These morphological changes were accompanied by phenotypic changes. Double immunohistochemistry staining showed that the addition of TGF-beta1 to confluent cell cultures caused a loss of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and de novo expression of alpha-SMA. An intermediate stage in transdifferentiation could be seen with hypertrophic cells expressing both E-cadherin and alpha-SMA. De novo alpha-SMA expression was confirmed by Northern blotting, Western blotting, and flow cytometry. In particular, cells with a transformed morphology showed strong alpha-SMA immunostaining of characteristic microfilament structures along the cell axis. There was a dose-dependent increase in the percentage of cells expressing alpha-SMA with increasing concentrations of TGF-beta1, which was completely inhibited by the addition of a neutralizing anti-TGF-beta1 antibody. Compared with growth on plastic, cell culture on collagen-coated plates showed a threefold increase in the percentage of cells expressing alpha-SMA in response to TGF-beta1. TGF-beta1 is a key mediator that regulates, in a dose-dependent fashion, transdifferentiation of tubular epithelial cells into alpha-SMA+ myofibroblasts. This transdifferentiation is markedly enhanced by growth on collagen type I. These findings have identified a novel pathway that may contribute to renal fibrosis associated with overexpression of TGF-beta1 within the diseased kidney.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEF
                Nephron
                10.1159/issn.1660-8151
                Nephron
                S. Karger AG
                1660-8151
                2235-3186
                2002
                October 2002
                02 September 2002
                : 92
                : 2
                : 287-296
                Affiliations
                Departments of aInternal Medicine-Nephrology and bPathology, University of Patras, Patras, Greece; cSheffield Kidney Institute, NGH, Sheffield, UK; dDepartment of Pathology, General Hospital ‘Evangelismos’, Athens, Greece
                Article
                63293 Nephron 2002;92:287–296
                10.1159/000063293
                12218305
                © 2002 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: 4, Tables: 2, References: 31, Pages: 10
                Product
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/63293
                Categories
                Original Paper

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