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J Pathol. 2005 Dec;207(4):483-92.

Modulation of osteopontin in proteinuria-induced renal interstitial fibrosis.

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Department of Pathology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Proteinuria is associated with macrophage-dependent interstitial fibrosis (IF). Osteopontin (OPN), a macrophage chemoattractant, may be involved in the transition of proteinuria to IF but protective properties have also been reported. To elucidate whether OPN may be involved in the proteinuria-induced cascade of tubulointerstitial damage, renal expression of OPN was studied during the development of proteinuria-induced renal damage and during anti-proteinuric intervention with ACE inhibition (ACEi). First, the temporal relationships between proteinuria, interstitial OPN induction, and IF in adriamycin nephrosis (AN), a model of chronic proteinuria-induced renal damage, were studied. Second, the effect of anti-proteinuric treatment on OPN expression was investigated. The time course of OPN induction and markers of renal damage was studied in rats with unilateral AN at 6-week intervals until week 30. In a second study, a renal biopsy was taken 6 weeks after induction of bilateral AN; subsequently, rats were treated with ACEi until termination (week 12). In unilateral AN, proteinuria developed gradually and stabilized at week 10. In proteinuric kidneys, OPN expression was induced from week 12 onwards. Simultaneously, a progressive increase in interstitial macrophages, alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), collagen type III, and focal glomerulosclerosis (FGS) was observed. In bilateral AN, ACEi reduced proteinuria and OPN protein and stabilized fibrosis. In untreated animals, OPN mRNA increased, with stable OPN protein and fibrosis and increased FGS. Thus, in AN, development of proteinuria is followed by up-regulation of OPN along with markers of renal damage. The up-regulation of OPN is reversible by anti-proteinuric treatment without a corresponding reduction in fibrosis. Whereas these data are consistent with a role for OPN in the cascade of transition from proteinuria to fibrosis, intervention with ACEi showed that reduction of OPN does not attenuate established fibrosis.

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