Journal of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system : JRAAS

ACE-inhibition increases podocyte number in experimental glomerular disease independent of proliferation.

PMID 25143333


The objective of this article is to test the effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibition on glomerular epithelial cell number in an inducible experimental model of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Although ACE-inhibition has been shown to limit podocyte loss by enhancing survival, little is known about its effect on podocyte number following an abrupt decline in disease. Experimental FSGS was induced with cytotoxic antipodocyte antibody. Following induction, groups were randomized to receive the ACE-inhibitor enalapril, the smooth muscle relaxant hydralazine (blood pressure control) or drinking water. Blood pressure, kidney function and histology were measured seven and 14 days following disease induction. Both glomerulosclerosis and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio were less in the ACE-inhibition arm at day 14. At day 7 of disease, mean podocyte numbers were 26% and 29% lower in the enalapril and hydralazine arms, respectively, compared to normal mice in which no antibody was injected. At day 14, the mean podocyte number was only 18% lower in the enalapril arm, but was 39% lower in the hydralazine arm compared to normal mice. Podocyte proliferation did not occur at any time in any group. Compared to water- or hydralazine-treated mice with FSGS, the enalapril arm had a higher mean number of glomerular parietal epithelial cells that co-expressed the podocyte proteins WT-1 and synaptopodin, as well as phospho-ERK. The results show following an abrupt decline in podocyte number, the initiation of ACE-inhibition but not hydralazine, was accompanied by higher podocyte number in the absence of proliferation. This was accompanied by a higher number of parietal epithelial cells that co-express podocyte proteins. Increasing podocyte number appears to be accompanied by reduced glomerulosclerosis.