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Am J Physiol. 1999 Dec;277(6):F948-56. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1999.277.6.F948.

Cyclin kinase inhibitor p21CIP1/WAF1 limits interstitial cell proliferation following ureteric obstruction.

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Tubulointerstitial renal injury induced by unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO) is characterized by marked cell proliferation and apoptosis. Proliferation requires cell cycle transit that is positively regulated by cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and inhibited by the CIP/KIP family of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs: p21, p27, and p57). We have shown that the absence of p27 results in markedly increased tubular epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis following UUO (V. Ophascharoensuk, M. L. Fero, J. Hughes, J. M. Roberts, and S. J. Shankland. Nat. Med. 4: 575-580, 1998). Since p21 mRNA is upregulated following UUO, we hypothesized that p21 would also serve to limit cell proliferation and apoptosis. We performed UUO in p21 +/+ and p21 -/- mice. Cell proliferation [bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)], apoptosis [terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) method], interstitial myofibroblast accumulation (actin), macrophage infiltration (F4/80), and collagen I expression were quantified at days 3, 7, and 14. In contrast to p27 -/- mice, there was no difference in tubular epithelial cell proliferation or apoptosis between p21 -/- and p21 +/+ mice at any time point. However, interstitial cell proliferation at day 3 was significantly increased in p21 -/- mice [BrdU, 40.7 +/- 1.9 cells/high-power field (cells/hpf) vs. 28.8 +/- 2, P < 0.005], although, interestingly, no difference was seen in interstitial cell apoptosis. Actin/BrdU double staining demonstrated increased interstitial myofibroblast proliferation at day 3 in p21 -/- animals (10 +/- 0.12 vs. 5.8 +/- 0. 11 cells/hpf, P < 0.05), which was followed by increased myofibroblast accumulation at day 7 in p21 -/- mice. No differences were detected in interstitial macrophage infiltration, collagen I deposition or transforming growth factor-beta1 mRNA (in situ hybridization) expression. In conclusion p21, unlike p27, is not essential for the regulation of tubular epithelial cell proliferation and apoptosis following UUO, but p21 levels do serve to limit the magnitude of the early myofibroblast proliferation. This study demonstrates a differential role for the CKI p21 and p27 in this model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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