Canagliflozin reduced kidney disease progression in participants with type 2 diabetes in the CANagliflozin cardioVascular Assessment Study (CANVAS) Program. This analysis explored potential mediators of the effects of canagliflozin on kidney outcomes. The percent mediating effect of 18 biomarkers indicative of disease was determined by comparing the hazard ratios for the effect of randomized treatment from an unadjusted model and from a model adjusting for the average post-randomization level of each biomarker. Multivariable analyses assessed the joint effects of biomarkers that mediated most strongly in univariable analyses. The kidney outcome was defined as a composite of 40% estimated glomerular filtration rate decline, end-stage kidney disease, or death due to kidney disease. Nine biomarkers (systolic blood pressure [8.9% of effect explained], urinary albumin:creatinine ratio [UACR; 23.9%], gamma glutamyltransferase [4.1%], hematocrit [51.1%], hemoglobin [41.3%], serum albumin [19.5%], erythrocytes [56.7%], serum urate [35.4%], and urine pH [7.5%]) individually mediated the effect of canagliflozin on the kidney outcome. In a parsimonious multivariable model, erythrocyte concentration, serum urate, and systolic blood pressure maximized cumulative mediation (115%). Mediating effects of UACR, but not other mediators, were highly dependent upon the baseline level of UACR: UACR mediated 42% and 7% of the effect in those with baseline UACR 30 mg/g or more and under 30 mg/g, respectively. The identified mediators support existing hypothesized mechanisms for the prevention of kidney outcomes with sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors. Thus, the disparity in mediating effects across baseline UACR subgroups suggests that the mechanism for kidney protection with canagliflozin may vary across patient subgroups.
Energy reprogramming to glycolysis is closely associated with the development of chronic kidney disease. As an important negative regulatory factor of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signal, tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (Tsc1) is also a key regulatory point of glycolysis. Here, we investigated whether Tsc1 could mediate the progression of kidney interstitial fibrosis by regulating glycolysis in proximal tubular epithelial cells. We induced mTORC1 signal activation in tubular epithelial cells in kidneys with fibrosis via unilateral ureteral occlusion. This resulted in increased tubular epithelial cell proliferation and glycolytic enzyme upregulation. Prior incubation with rapamycin inhibited mTORC1 activation and abolished the enhanced glycolysis and tubular epithelial cell proliferation. Furthermore, knockdown of Tsc1 expression promoted glycolysis in the rat kidney epithelial cell line NRK-52E. Specific deletion of Tsc1 in the proximal tubules of mice resulted in enlarged kidneys characterized by a high proportion of proliferative tubular epithelial cells, dilated tubules with cyst formation, and a large area of interstitial fibrosis in conjunction with elevated glycolysis. Treatment of the mice with the glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxyglucose notably ameliorated tubular epithelial cell proliferation, cystogenesis, and kidney fibrosis. Thus, our findings suggest that Tsc1-associated mTORC1 signaling mediates the progression of kidney interstitial fibrosis by regulating glycolysis in proximal tubular epithelial cells.
Premature senescence of renal tubular epithelial cell (RTEC), which is involved in kidney fibrosis, is a key event in the progression of diabetic nephropathy. However, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here we investigated the role and mechanism of decoy receptor 2(DcR2) in kidney fibrosis and the senescent phenotype of RTEC. DcR2 was specifically expressed in senescent RTEC and associated with kidney fibrosis in patients with diabetic nephropathy and mice with streptozotocin-induced with diabetic nephropathy. Knockdown of DcR2 decreased the expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, collagen I, fibronectin and serum creatinine levels in streptozotocin-induced mice. DcR2 knockdown also inhibited the expression of senescent markers p16, p21, senescence-associated beta-galactosidase and senescence-associated heterochromatic foci and promoted the secretion of a senescence-associated secretory phenotype including IL-6, TGF-beta 1, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 in vitro and in vivo. However, DcR2 overexpression showed the opposite effects. Quantitative proteomics and validation studies revealed that DcR2 interacted with peroxiredoxin 1 (PRDX1), which regulated the cell cycle and senescence. Knockdown of PRDX1 upregulated p16 and cyclin D1 while downregulating cyclin-dependent kinase 6 expression in vitro, resulting in RTEC senescence. Furthermore, PRDX1 knockdown promoted DcR2-induced p16, cyclin D1, IL-6, and TGF-beta 1 expression, whereas PRDX1 overexpression led to the opposite results. Subsequently, DcR2 regulated PRDX1 phosphorylation, which could be inhibited by the specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein. Thus, DcR2 mediated the senescent phenotype of RTEC and kidney fibrosis by interacting with PRDX1. Hence, DcR2 may act as a potential therapeutic target for the amelioration of diabetic nephropathy progression.
Kidney function and blood pressure homeostasis are regulated by purinergic signaling mechanisms. These autocrine/paracrine signaling pathways are initiated by the release of cellular ATP, which influences kidney hemodynamics and steady-state renin secretion from juxtaglomerular cells. However, the mechanism responsible for ATP release that supports tonic inputs to juxtaglomerular cells and regulates renin secretion remains unclear. Pannexin 1 (Panx1) channels localize to both afferent arterioles and juxtaglomerular cells and provide a transmembrane conduit for ATP release and ion permeability in the kidney and the vasculature. We hypothesized that Panx1 channels in renin-expressing cells regulate renin secretion in vivo. Using a renin cell-specific Panx1 knockout model, we found that male Panx1 deficient mice exhibiting a heightened activation of the reninangiotensin-aldosterone system have markedly increased plasma renin and aldosterone concentrations, and elevated mean arterial pressure with altered peripheral hemodynamics. Following ovariectomy, female mice mirrored the male phenotype. Furthermore, constitutive Panx1 channel activity was observed in As4.1 renin-secreting cells, whereby Panx1 knockdown reduced extracellular ATP accumulation, lowered basal intracellular calcium concentrations and recapitulated a hyper-secretory renin phenotype. Moreover, in response to stress stimuli that lower blood pressure, Panx1-deficient mice exhibited aberrant "renin recruitment" as evidenced by reactivation of renin expression in pre-glomerular arteriolar smooth muscle cells. Thus, renin-cell Panx1 channels suppress renin secretion and influence adaptive renin responses when blood pressure homeostasis is threatened.
Transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-beta) is a central mediator of diabetic nephropathy. The effect of TGF-beta, mediated by the type I TGF-beta receptor, ALK5, and subsequent Smad2/3 activation results in podocyte apoptosis and loss. Previously, we demonstrated that the genetic deletion of the BMP and Activin Membrane-Bound Inhibitor (BAMBI), a negative modulator TGF-beta signaling, accelerates diabetic nephropathy in mice. This was associated with heightened ALK1-mediated activation of Smad1/5 in the glomerular endothelial cells (ECs). Therefore, to evaluate the glomerular cell-specific effects of TGF-beta in diabetic nephropathy we examined the effects of the podocyte- or EC-specific loss of Bambi (Pod-Bambi-/- or EC-Bambi-/-) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice with endothelial nitric oxide synthase deficiency. Interestingly, although hyperglycemia and body weight loss were similar in all groups of diabetic mice, significant hypertension was present only in the diabetic EC-Bambi-/- mice. While the podocyte or EC-specific loss of BAMBI both accelerated the progression of diabetic nephropathy, the worsened podocyte injury and loss observed in the diabetic PodBambi-/- mice were associated with enhanced Smad3 activation. Increased Smad1/5 activation and EC proliferation were apparent only in the glomeruli of diabetic EC-Bambi-/- mice. The enhanced Smad1/5 activation in diabetic EC-Bambi-/- mice was associated with increased glomerular expression of plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein, pointing to the involvement of immature or dedifferentiated glomerular ECs in diabetic nephropathy. Notably, diabetic EC-Bambi-/- mice displayed podocyte injury and loss that were comparable to diabetic Pod-Bambi-/- mice. Thus, our results highlight the glomerular cell-specific contribution of TGF-beta signaling and the intricate cross-talk between injured glomerular cells in the progression of diabetic nephropathy.
Progressive focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, characterized by podocyte loss, is often refractory to treatment and leads to progressive proteinuric chronic kidney disease. Interleukin-9 (IL-9) is reported to play important roles in innate and adaptive immunity in extrarenal inflammatory diseases. By using an IL-9 knockout mouse model, Xiong et al. demonstrate IL-9 as a novel pro-podocyte survival cytokine in the adriamycin nephropathy model of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Sequential in vitro and in vivo data corroborate a direct protective role, rather than an immunologic role, for IL-9 on podocyte survival. This commentary highlights these novel data and discusses the necessary steps for developing IL-9 as a potential novel therapeutic for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Copyright (C) 2020, International Society of Nephrology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUTs) are the most common cause of chronic kidney disease in children. Human 16p11.2 deletions have been associated with CAKUT, but the responsible molecular mechanism remains to be illuminated. To explore this, we investigated 102 carriers of 16p11.2 deletion from multi-center cohorts, among which we retrospectively ascertained kidney morphologic and functional data from 37 individuals (12 Chinese and 25 Caucasian/Hispanic). Significantly higher CAKUT rates were observed in 16p11.2 deletion carriers (about 25% in Chinese and 16% in Caucasian/Hispanic) than those found in the non-clinically ascertained general populations (about 1/1000 found at autopsy). Furthermore, we identified seven additional individuals with heterozygous loss-of-function variants in TBX6, a gene that maps to the 16p11.2 region. Four of these seven cases showed obvious CAKUT. To further investigate the role of TBX6 in kidney development, we engineered mice with mutated Tbx6 alleles. The Tbx6 heterozygous null (i.e., loss-of-function) mutant (Tbx6(+/-)) resulted in 13% solitary kidneys. Remarkably, this incidence increased to 29% in a compound heterozygous model (Tbx6(mh/-)) that reduced Tbx6 gene dosage to below haploinsufficiency, by combining the null allele with a novel mild hypomorphic allele (mh). Renal hypoplasia was also frequently observed in these Tbx6-mutated mouse models. Thus, our findings in patients and mice establish TBX6 as a novel gene involved in CAKUT and its gene dosage insufficiency as a potential driver for kidney defects observed in the 16p11.2 microdeletion syndrome.
Immunosuppression in IgA nephropathy (IgAN) should be reserved for patients at high-risk of disease progression, which KDIGO guidelines determine based solely on proteinuria 1g or more/day. To investigate if treatment decisions can be more accurately accomplished using individualized risk from the International IgAN Prediction Tool, we simulated allocation of a hypothetical immunosuppression therapy in an international cohort of adults with IgAN. Two decision rules for treatment were applied based on proteinuria of 1g or more/day or predicted risk from the Prediction Tool above a threshold probability. An appropriate decision was defined as immunosuppression allocated to patients experiencing the primary outcome (50% decline in eGFR or ESKD) and withheld otherwise. The net benefit and net reduction in treatment are the proportion of patients appropriately allocated to receive or withhold immunosuppression, adjusted for the harm from inappropriate decisions, calculated for all threshold probabilities from 0-100%. Of 3299 patients followed for 5.1 years, 522 (15.8%) experienced the primary outcome. Treatment allocation based solely on proteinuria of 1g or more/day had a negative net benefit (was harmful) because immunosuppression was increasingly allocated to patients without progressive disease. Compared to using proteinuria, treatment allocation using the Prediction Tool had a larger net benefit up to 23.4% (95% confidence interval 21.5-25.2%) and a larger net reduction in treatment up to 35.1% (32.3-37.8%). Thus, allocation of immunosuppression to high-risk patients with IgAN can be substantially improved using the Prediction Tool compared to using proteinuria.
Primary hyperoxaluria type I is caused by mutations in the alanine glyoxylate aminotransferase gene (AGXT), leading to accumulation of glyoxylate and subsequent production of oxalate and urolithiasis. Here, we generated a novel rat model of primary hyperoxaluria type I that carries a D205N mutation in the partially humanized Agxt gene through the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The AgxtD205N mutant rats showed undetectable alanine glyoxylate aminotransferase protein expression, developed hyperoxaluria at 1 month of age and exhibited severe renal calcium oxalate deposition after ethylene glycol challenge. This suggests our novel model is more relevant to the human disease than existing animal models. To test whether this model could be used for the development of innovative therapeutics, SaCas9 targeting hydroxyacid oxidase 1, responsible for metabolizing glycolate into glyoxylate, was delivered via adeno-associated viral vectors into newborn rats with primary hyperoxaluria type 1. This approach generated nearly 30% indels in the Hao1 gene in the liver, leading to 42% lower urine oxalate levels in the treated group than in the control group and preventing the rats with primary hyperoxaluria type 1 from undergoing severe nephrocalcinosis for at least 12 months. Thus, our results demonstrate that this partially humanized AgxtD205N rat strain is a high-performing model of primary hyperoxaluria type 1 for understanding pathology, and the development of novel therapeutics, such as reprogramming of the metabolic pathway through genome editing.
The Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Clinical Practice Guideline for Diabetes Management in Chronic Kidney Disease represents the first KDIGO guideline on this subject. The guideline comes at a time when advances in diabetes technology and therapeutics offer new options to manage the large population of patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) at high risk of poor health outcomes. An enlarging base of high-quality evidence from randomized clinical trials is available to evaluate important new treatments offering organ protection, such as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. The goal of the new guideline is to provide evidence-based recommendations to optimize the clinical care of people with diabetes and CKD by integrating new options with existing management strategies. In addition, the guideline contains practice points to facilitate implementation when insufficient data are available to make well-justified recommendations or when additional guidance may be useful for clinical application. The guideline covers comprehensive care of patients with diabetes and CKD, glycemic monitoring and targets, lifestyle interventions, antihyperglycemic therapies, and self-management and health systems approaches to management of patients with diabetes and CKD.
To understand the genetics of steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS), we conducted a genome-wide association study in 987 childhood SSNS patients and 3,206 healthy controls with Japanese ancestry. Beyond known associations in the HLA-DR/DQ region, common variants in NPHS1-KIRREL2 (rs56117924, P=4.94E-20, odds ratio (OR) =1.90) and TNFSF15 (rs6478109, P=2.54E-8, OR=0.72) regions achieved genome-wide significance and were replicated in Korean, South Asian and African populations. Trans-ethnic meta-analyses including Japanese, Korean, South Asian, African, European, Hispanic and Maghrebian populations confirmed the significant associations of variants in NPHS1-KIRREL2 (P-meta =6.71E 28, OR=1.88) and TNFSF15 (P-meta =5.40E 11, OR=1.33) loci. Analysis of the NPHS1 risk alleles with glomerular NPHS1 mRNA expression from the same person revealed allele specific expression with significantly lower expression of the transcript derived from the risk haplotype (Wilcox test p=9.3E-4). Because rare pathogenic variants in NPHS1 cause congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type (CNSF), the present study provides further evidence that variation along the allele frequency spectrum in the same gene can cause or contribute to both a rare monogenic disease (CNSF) and a more complex, polygenic disease (SSNS).
To investigate the cause of salt sensitivity in a normotensive animal model, we treated rats with a low-dose of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, L-NAME, that does not elevate blood pressure per se or induce kidney fibrosis. A high salt diet increased the circulating blood volume both in L-NAME-treated and nontreated animals for the first 24 hours. Thereafter, the blood volume increase persisted only in the L-NAME-treated rats. Blood pressure was higher in the L-NAME-treated group from the start of high salt diet exposure. Within the first 24 hours of salt loading, the L-NAME treated animals failed to show vasodilation and maintained high systemic vascular resistance in response to blood volume expansion. After four weeks on the high salt diet, the slope of the pressure-natriuresis curve was blunted in the L-NAME-treated group. An increase in natriuresis was observed after treatment with hydrochlorothiazide, but not amiloride, a change observed in parallel with increased phosphorylated sodium-chloride cotransporter (NCC). In contrast, a change in blood pressure was not observed in L-NAME-treated NCC-deficient mice fed a high salt diet. Moreover, direct L-NAME-induced NCC activation was demonstrated in cells of the mouse distal convoluted tubule. The vasodilatator, sodium nitroprusside, downregulated phosphorylated NCC expression. The effect of L-NAME on phosphorylated NCC was blocked by both the SPAK inhibitor STOCK2S-26016 and the superoxide dismutase mimetic TEMPO which also attenuated salt-induced hypertension. These results suggest that the initiation of salt sensitivity in normotensive rodents could be due to hyporeactivity of the vasculature and that maintaining blood pressure could result in a high circulating volume due to inappropriate NCC activity in the low-dose L-NAME model. Thus, even slightly impaired nitric oxide production may be important in salt sensitivity regulation in healthy rodents.
Polycystin-1 (PC1) and -2 (PC2), products of the PKD1 and PKD2 genes, are mutated in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). They localize to the primary cilia; however, their ciliary function is in dispute. Loss of either the primary cilia or PC1 or PC2 causes cyst formation. However, loss of both cilia and PC1 or PC2 inhibits cyst growth via an unknown pathway. To help define a pathway, we studied cilium length in human and mouse kidneys. We found cilia are elongated in kidneys from patients with ADPKD and from both Pkd1 and Pkd2 knockout mice. Cilia elongate following polycystin inactivation. The role of intraflagellar transport proteins in Pkd1-deficient mice is also unknown. We found that inactivation of 1ft88 (a gene expressing a core component of intraflagellar transport) in Pkd1 knockout mice, as well as in a new Pkd2 knockout mouse, shortened the elongated cilia, impeded kidney and liver cystogenesis, and reduced cell proliferation. Multi-stage in vivo analysis of signaling pathways revealed beta-catenin activation as a prominent, early, and sustained event in disease onset and progression in Pkd2 single knockout but not in Pkd2.1ft88 double knockout mouse kidneys. Additionally, AMPK, mTOR and ERK pathways were altered in Pkd2 single knockout mice but only AMPK and mTOR pathway alteration were rescued in Pkd2.1ft88 double knockout mice. Thus, our findings advocate an essential role of polycystins in the structure and function of the primary cilia and implicate beta-catenin as a key inducer of cystogenesis downstream of the primary cilia. Our data suggest that modulating cilium length and/or its associated signaling events may offer novel therapeutic approaches for ADPKD.
Kidney fibrosis is the common consequence of chronic kidney diseases that inexorably progresses to end-stage kidney disease with organ failure treatable only with replacement therapy. Since transforming growth factor-beta 1 is the main player in the pathogenesis of kidney fibrosis, we posed the hypothesis that recombinant thrombomodulin can ameliorate transforming growth factor-beta 1-mediated progressive kidney fibrosis and failure. To interrogate our hypothesis, we generated a novel glomerulus-specific human transforming growth factor-beta 1 transgenic mouse to evaluate the therapeutic effect of recombinant thrombomodulin. This transgenic mouse developed progressive glomerular sclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis with kidney failure. Therapy with recombinant thrombomodulin for four weeks significantly inhibited kidney fibrosis and improved organ function compared to untreated transgenic mice. Treatment with recombinant thrombomodulin significantly inhibited apoptosis and mesenchymal differentiation of podocytes by interacting with the G-protein coupled receptor 15 to activate the Akt signaling pathway and to upregulate the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins including survivin. Thus, our study strongly suggests the potential therapeutic efficacy of recombinant thrombomodulin for the treatment of chronic kidney disease and subsequent organ failure.