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The Journal of biological chemistry

Mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into renin-producing juxtaglomerular (JG)-like cells under the control of liver X receptor-alpha.


PMID 20118482

Abstract

Renin is a key enzyme for cardiovascular and renal homeostasis and is produced by highly specialized endocrine cells in the kidney, known as juxtaglomerular (JG) cells. The nature and origin of these cells remain as mysteries. Previously, we have shown that the nuclear hormone receptor liver X receptor-alpha (LXRalpha) is a major transcriptional regulator of the expression of renin, c-myc, and other genes involved with growth/differentiation. In this study we test the hypothesis that LXRalpha plays an important role not only in renin expression but also in renin-containing cell differentiation, specifically from the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), which may be the origin of the JG cell. Indeed, our data demonstrated that LXRalpha activation by its ligands or cAMP stimulated renin gene expression in both murine and human MSCs. Furthermore, sustained cAMP stimulation of murine MSCs overexpressing LXRalpha led to their differentiation into JG-like cells expressing renin and alpha-smooth muscle actin. These MSC-derived JG-like cells contained renin in secretory granules and released active renin in response to cAMP. In conclusion, the activation of LXRalpha stimulates renin expression and induces MSCs differentiation into renin-secreting, JG-like cells. Our results suggest that the MSC may be the origin of the juxtaglomerular cell and provide insight into novel understanding of pathophysiology of the renin-angiotensin system.

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