Parathyroid hormone induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition via the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in human renal proximal tubular cells

Yunshan Guo, Zhen Li, Raohai Ding, Hongdong Li, Lei Zhang, Weijie Yuan, Yanxia Wang
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology 2014, 7 (9): 5978-87
Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to play an important role in renal fibrogenesis. Recent studies suggested parathyroid hormone (PTH) could accelerate EMT and subsequent organ fibrosis. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying PTH-induced EMT remain unknown. The present study was to investigate whether Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is involved in PTH-induced EMT in human renal proximal tubular cells (HK-2 cells) and to determine the profile of gene expression associated with PTH-induced EMT. PTH could induce morphological changes and gene expression characteristic of EMT in cultured HK-2 cells. Suppressing β-catenin expression or DKK1 limited gene expression characteristic of PTH-induced EMT. Based on the PCR array analysis, PTH treatment resulted in the up-regulation of 18 genes and down-regulation of 9 genes compared with the control. The results were further supported by a western blot analysis, which showed the increased Wnt4 protein expression. Wnt4 overexpression also promotes PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells. The findings demonstrated that PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells is mediated by Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway, and Wnt4 might be a key gene during PTH-induced EMT.

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