PloS one

Long-term gene therapy with thrombospondin 2 inhibits TGF-β activation, inflammation and angiogenesis in chronic allograft nephropathy.

PMID 24376766


We recently identified Thrombospondin-2 (TSP-2) as a regulator of matrix remodelling and inflammation in experimental kidney disease by using TSP-2 null mice and successfully proved TSP-2 overexpression as a therapeutic concept in a short term glomerulonephritis model in the rat. In this current study, we investigated if long-term TSP-2 overexpression is also capable to ameliorate the progression of chronic kidney disease in the setting of the chronic allograft nephropathy F344-Lewis model in the rat. Two weeks after renal transplantation, two rat thigh muscles were transfected once only with either a TSP-2 overexpressing plasmid (n = 8) or a luciferase-expressing plasmid as control (n = 8). Rats were monitored for renal function, histological changes and gene expression in the graft for up to 30 weeks after transplantation. Unexpectedly, only in the TSP-2 treated group 2 rats died before the end of the experiment and renal function tended to be worsened in the TSP-2 group compared to the luciferase-treated controls. In addition, glomerular sclerosis and tubular interstitial injury as well as cortical fibronectin deposition was significantly increased in the TSP-2 treated kidneys despite reduced TGF-β activation and marked anti-inflammatory (macrophages, T-cells and B-cells) effects in this group. Long-term TSP-2 therapy impaired repair of renal endothelium, as demonstrated by significant higher glomerular and peritubular endothelial rarefaction and reduced endothelial cell proliferation in the transplanted kidneys from TSP-2 treated rats compared to controls. This TSP-2 effect was associated with decreased levels of renal VEGF but not VEGF1 receptor. In conclusion, despite its anti-inflammatory and TGF-β activation blocking effects, TSP-2 gene therapy did not ameliorate but rather worsened experimental chronic allograft nephropathy most likely via its anti-angiogenic properties on the renal microvasculature.

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EHU121191 MISSION® esiRNA, esiRNA human DES (esiRNA1)