Inactivation of Wnt/β-catenin/renin angiotensin axis by tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitor, infliximab, ameliorates CKD induced in rats

Nahla N Younis, Hoda E Mohamed, Mohamed A Shaheen, Asmaa M Abdelghafour, Sally K Hammad
Biochemical Pharmacology 2021 January 19, : 114426
Infliximab (IFX), a chimeric monoclonal antibody against tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), is widely used to treat autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases associated with inflammation. TNF-α was reported to inhibit klotho, reactivate β-catenin and cause tubular cell injury in vitro. Whether the inhibition of TNF-α can regulate Wnt/β-catenin pathway via klotho in CKD in vivo is not studied yet. We aimed to investigate the impact of IFX on Wnt/β-catenin pathway in doxorubicin (DOX)-induced nephropathy. Doxorubicin (3.5 mg/kg; i.p., twice weekly for 3 weeks) increased serum cystatin-C, urine albumin/creatinine ratio (UACR), but depleted renal podocin. It markedly increased renal contents of TNF-α, interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1β (IL1β). DOX decreased the renal expression of klotho which in turn increased Wnt1, active β-catenin/total β-catenin ratio in renal tissue. Significant increase in renal gene expression of RENIN, ACE, and AT1 was observed. Moreover, renal fibronectin and collagen deposition increased in renal tissue. Treatment with either IFX (5 mg/kg, once; i.p.), losartan (LOS, 10 mg/kg/day, orally) or their combination significantly improved renal function, inhibited inflammatory cytokines and fibrosis. Renal TNF-α was negatively correlated with renal klotho. On the hand, it was positively correlated with renal Wnt1 and active β-catenin/total β-catenin ratio. The combined IFX and LOS treatment was the most effective in improving all studied parameters. In conclusion, this study proved, for the first time, the inhibitory effect of IFX on renal Wnt/β-catenin signaling in DOX-induced nephropathy in vivo by up-regulating renal klotho. Therefore, these results suggest a new role for IFX in chronic kidney disease via targeting renal Wnt/β-catenin/renin angiotensin axis.

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