American journal of physiology. Renal physiology

Expression of CCN1 (CYR61) in developing, normal, and diseased human kidney.

PMID 17699553


CCN1 (cysteine-rich protein 61; Cyr61) is an extracellular matrix-associated signaling molecule that functions in cell migration, adhesion, and differentiation. We previously reported that CCN1 is induced at podocytes in rat anti-Thy-1 glomerulonephritis, a well-known model of reversible glomerular injury, but its expression and significance in the human kidney remain totally unknown (Sawai K, Mori K, Mukoyama M, Sugawara A, Suganami T, Koshikawa M, Yahata K, Makino H, Nagae T, Fujinaga Y, Yokoi H, Yoshioka T, Yoshimoto A, Tanaka I, Nakao K. J Am Soc Nephrol 14: 1154-1163, 2003). Here we report that, in the human kidney, CCN1 expression was confined to podocytes in normal adult and embryonic glomeruli from the capillary loop stage. Podocyte CCN1 expression was decreased in IgA nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy, and membranous nephropathy, whereas it remained unchanged in minimal change disease and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Downregulation of CCN1 was significantly greater in diseased kidneys with severe mesangial expansion. CCN1 protein was also localized in the thick ascending limb of Henle's loop, distal and proximal tubules, and collecting ducts, which was not altered in diseased kidneys. In vitro, recombinant CCN1 protein enhanced endothelial cell adhesion, whereas it prominently inhibited mesangial cell adhesion. CCN1 also completely suppressed mesangial cell migration, suggesting its role as a mesangial-repellent factor. In cultured podocytes, CCN1 markedly induced the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1) as well as synaptopodin in a dose-dependent manner and suppressed podocyte migration. These data indicate that CCN1 is expressed in podocytes, can act on glomerular cells to modulate glomerular remodeling, and is downregulated in diseased kidneys, suggesting that impairment of CCN1 expression in podocytes may contribute to the progression of glomerular disease with mesangial expansion.