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Kidney Int. 2001 Jun;59(6):2146-55.

t-PA promotes glomerular plasmin generation and matrix degradation in experimental glomerulonephritis.

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Fibrosis Research Laboratory, Division of Nephrology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.



In addition to its well-known role in degrading fibrin, recent evidence suggests that plasmin degrades matrix proteins and activates prometalloproteinases. Plasmin is generated from plasminogen by tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). We hypothesized that t-PA treatment increases plasmin generation in nephritic glomeruli and degrades pathological matrix leading to a therapeutic reduction in matrix accumulation.


Anti-Thy-1 nephritis was induced by injection of OX-7 antibody. Rats were given twice daily intravenous injections of saline (disease control group) or human recombinant t-PA (rt-PA; 1 mg/kg body weight) on days 3 through 5. Proteinuria, glomerular matrix protein staining, and glomerular mRNA levels for transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1), fibronectin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) were evaluated at day 6. Localization of rt-PA, plasmin generation by glomeruli in vitro, and glomerular production and content of active TGF-beta1 were also investigated.


Compared with disease control animals, proteinuria and staining score for periodic acid-Schiff (2.75 +/- 0.17 vs. 1.41 +/- 0.09), fibronectin-EDA+ (19 +/- 2 vs. 14 +/- 1), laminin (35 +/- 2 vs. 25 +/- 2), type I collagen (33 +/- 1 vs. 21 +/- 3), and type IV collagen (27 +/- 2 vs. 23 +/- 1) were significantly reduced in treated rats (P < 0.01). Glomerular TGF-beta 1, fibronectin, and PAI-1 mRNA levels were unchanged. rt-PA colocalized with fibrin along glomerular capillary walls and in the mesangium. Nephritic glomeruli in vitro had decreased plasmin activity, which was elevated by an in vivo presacrifice injection of rt-PA. Glomerular production and content of active TGF-beta 1 were unchanged by the rt-PA injection.


: These results show that injected rt-PA binds to fibrin in nephritic glomeruli, thus increasing plasmin generation and promoting pathological matrix degradation without activating latent TGF-beta. Agents that increase plasmin generation, such as t-PA, may have potential as antifibrotic therapies.

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