PloS one

Disruption of Smad7 promotes ANG II-mediated renal inflammation and fibrosis via Sp1-TGF-β/Smad3-NF.κB-dependent mechanisms in mice.

PMID 23301086


Smad7 is an inhibitory Smad and plays a protective role in obstructive and diabetic kidney disease. However, the role and mechanisms of Smad7 in hypertensive nephropathy remains unexplored. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the role and regulatory mechanisms of Smad7 in ANG II-induced hypertensive nephropathy. Smad7 gene knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice received a subcutaneous infusion of ANG II or control saline for 4 weeks via osmotic mini-pumps. ANG II infusion produced equivalent hypertension in Smad7 KO and WT mice; however, Smad7 KO mice exhibited more severe renal functional injury as shown by increased proteinuria and reduced renal function (both p<0.05) when compared with Smad7 WT mice. Enhanced renal injury in Smad7 KO mice was associated with more progressive renal fibrosis with elevated TGF-β/Smad3 signalling. Smad7 KO mice also showed more profound renal inflammation including increased macrophage infiltration, enhanced IL-1β and TNF-α expression, and a marked activation of NF-κB signaling (all p<0.01). Further studies revealed that enhanced ANG II-mediated renal inflammation and fibrosis in Smad7 KO mice were also associated with up-regulation of Sp1 but downregulation of miR-29b expression. Taken together, the present study revealed that enhanced Sp1-TGF-β1/Smad3-NF-κB signaling and loss of miR-29 may be mechanisms by which deletion of Smad7 promotes ANG II-mediated renal fibrosis and inflammation. Thus, Smad7 may play a protective role in ANG II-induced hypertensive kidney disease.