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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 May;19(5):877-83. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2007050629.

HIV-1 upregulates VEGF in podocytes.

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  • 1Department of , New York, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA.

Abstract

HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) is characterized by collapsing FSGS. Because transgenic mice with podocyte-specific overexpression of the vascular endothelial growth factor 164 (VEGF164) isoform also develop collapsing FSGS, we sought to determine whether VEGF plays a role in HIVAN. Compared with controls, immunohistochemistry revealed that kidneys from HIV-1-transgenic mice (Tg26) and from patients with HIVAN had greater expression of both VEGF and its transcriptional regulator, hypoxia-inducible factor 2alpha (HIF-2alpha). Similarly, mRNA and protein levels of VEGF and HIF-2alpha were increased in HIV-infected podocytes in vitro, and this transcriptional upregulation was found to be stimulated by the HIV viral protein Nef in a Src kinase-and Stat3-dependent manner. HIV-1 also upregulated VEGFR2 and its co-receptor neuropilin-1 and suppressed the expression of semaphorin 3a in the podocyte. Exogenous VEGF stimulated proliferation and de-differentiation of podocytes, which are features of collapsing FSGS, and VEGFR2 neutralizing antibodies reversed these features in podocytes infected with HIV-1 or isolated from Tg26 mice. In conclusion, HIV-1 induces VEGF and VEGFR2 expression in podocytes, and this may be a critical step in the pathogenesis of HIVAN.

PMID:
18443354
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2386717
Free PMC Article
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