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Colony stimulating factor-1 receptor drives glomerular parietal epithelial cell activation in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

Kidney International 2024 Februrary 29
Parietal epithelial cells (PECs) are kidney progenitor cells with similarities to a bone marrow stem cell niche. In focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) PECs become activated and contribute to extracellular matrix deposition. Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), a hematopoietic growth factor, acts via its specific receptor, CSF-1R, and has been implicated in several glomerular diseases, although its role on PEC activation is unknown. Here, we found that CSF-1R was upregulated in PECs and podocytes in biopsies from patients with FSGS. Through in vitro studies, PECs were found to constitutively express CSF-1R. Incubation with CSF-1 induced CSF-1R upregulation and significant transcriptional regulation of genes involved in pathways associated with PEC activation. Specifically, CSF-1/CSF-1R activated the ERK1/2 signaling pathway and upregulated CD44 in PECs, while both ERK and CSF-1R inhibitors reduced CD44 expression. Functional studies showed that CSF-1 induced PEC proliferation and migration, while reducing the differentiation of PECs into podocytes. These results were validated in the Adriamycin-induced FSGS experimental mouse model. Importantly, treatment with either the CSF-1R-specific inhibitor GW2580 or Ki20227 provided a robust therapeutic effect. Thus, we provide evidence of the role of the CSF-1/CSF-1R pathway in PEC activation in FSGS, paving the way for future clinical studies investigating the therapeutic effect of CSF-1R inhibitors on patients with FSGS.

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