Growth factor ultrafiltration in experimental diabetic nephropathy contributes to interstitial fibrosis

S N Wang, R Hirschberg
American Journal of Physiology. Renal Physiology 2000, 278 (4): F554-60
Glomerular proteinuria is a risk factor for progression of chronic renal failure and contributes to renal interstitial fibrosis. In experimental diabetic glomerular sclerosis, there is translocation of high-molecular-weight growth factors, namely, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, from plasma into tubular fluid, both of which act on tubular cells through apical membrane receptors. In the present studies, the hypothesis is examined that ultrafiltered HGF and TGF-beta induce increased expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins directly in tubular cells, or induce increased expression of cytokines that may act on interstitial myofibroblasts. Incubation of cultured tubular cells with recombinant human (rh) TGF-beta modestly raises expression of collagen type III, but rhHGF dose dependently blocks expression of this ECM protein. Both growth factors raise fibronectin expression up to fourfold and increase expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB up to sixfold, but not of fibroblast growth factor-2. Pooled, diluted glomerular ultrafiltrate that had been collected by nephron micropuncture from rats with diabetic nephropathy (24-30 wk) also raises expression of fibronectin as well as PDGF-BB in proximal tubular cells. In the presence of neutralizing antibodies that block actions of HGF and TGF-beta, diabetic rat glomerular ultrafiltrate fails to increase tubular cell PDGF-BB expression. In NRK-49F renal interstitial myofibroblasts, rhPDGF-BB, in turn, raises the expression of collagen type III but not type I or fibronectin. The findings provide evidence for ultrafiltered HGF and TGF-beta to contribute to interstitial accumulation of ECM proteins by direct effects on tubular cells as well as indirect mechanisms, via PDGF-BB and its action on myofibroblasts. These events may be important mechanisms of proteinuria-induced renal interstitial fibrosis and accelerated progression of chronic renal failure in diabetic nephropathy and perhaps other proteinuric glomerular diseases.

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