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L-Endoglin overexpression increases renal fibrosis after unilateral ureteral obstruction.

PloS one (2014-10-15)
Bárbara Oujo, José M Muñoz-Félix, Miguel Arévalo, Elena Núñez-Gómez, Lucía Pérez-Roque, Miguel Pericacho, María González-Núñez, Carmen Langa, Carlos Martínez-Salgado, Fernando Perez-Barriocanal, Carmelo Bernabeu, José M Lopez-Novoa
ABSTRACT

Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays a pivotal role in renal fibrosis. Endoglin, a 180 KDa membrane glycoprotein, is a TGF-β co-receptor overexpressed in several models of chronic kidney disease, but its function in renal fibrosis remains uncertain. Two membrane isoforms generated by alternative splicing have been described, L-Endoglin (long) and S-Endoglin (short) that differ from each other in their cytoplasmic tails, being L-Endoglin the most abundant isoform. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of L-Endoglin overexpression in renal tubulo-interstitial fibrosis. For this purpose, a transgenic mouse which ubiquitously overexpresses human L-Endoglin (L-ENG+) was generated and unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) was performed in L-ENG+ mice and their wild type (WT) littermates. Obstructed kidneys from L-ENG+ mice showed higher amounts of type I collagen and fibronectin but similar levels of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) than obstructed kidneys from WT mice. Smad1 and Smad3 phosphorylation were significantly higher in obstructed kidneys from L-ENG+ than in WT mice. Our results suggest that the higher increase of renal fibrosis observed in L-ENG+ mice is not due to a major abundance of myofibroblasts, as similar levels of α-SMA were observed in both L-ENG+ and WT mice, but to the higher collagen and fibronectin synthesis by these fibroblasts. Furthermore, in vivo L-Endoglin overexpression potentiates Smad1 and Smad3 pathways and this effect is associated with higher renal fibrosis development.

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