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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Apr;290(4):R861-70. Epub 2005 Nov 10.

Ischemic acute renal failure induces the expression of a wide range of nephrogenic proteins.

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Departamento de Fisiología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile.


Ischemia-induced acute renal failure (ARF) is a disorder with high morbidity and mortality. ARF is characterized by a regeneration phase, yet its molecular basis is still under study. Changes in gene expression have been reported in ARF, and some of these genes are specific for nephrogenic processes. We tested the hypothesis that the regeneration process developed after ischemia-induced ARF can be characterized by the reexpression of important regulatory proteins of kidney development. The distribution pattern and levels of nephrogenic proteins in rat kidneys after ischemia were studied by immunohistochemistry and immunoblot analysis. Ischemic damage was assessed by conventional morphology, serum creatinine, and the apoptotic markers terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) and caspase 3. The hypoxia levels induced by ischemia were assessed by specific markers: hypoxia induced factor (HIF)-1alpha and 2-pimonidazole. In kidneys with ARF, an important initial damage was observed through periodic acid Schiff staining, by the induction of damage markers alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and macrophages (ED-1) and by apoptosis induction. In agreement with diminishing renal damage at the initial reparation phase, the expression of the mesenchymal proteins vimentin, neural cell adhesion molecules (Ncam), and the epithelial markers, Pax-2, Noggin, and basic fibroblast growth factor was observed; after, in a second phase, the tubular markers bone morphogen protein 7, Engrailed, and Lim-1, as well as the transcription factors Smad and p-Smad, were observed. Additionally, the endothelial markers VEGF and Tie-2 were induced at the initial and middle stages of regeneration phase, respectively. The expression of these proteins was restricted in time and space, as well as spatially and temporally. Because all of these proteins are important in maintaining a functional kidney, these results suggest that during the regeneration process after induced hypoxia, these nephrogenic proteins can be reexpressed in a similar fashion to that observed during development, thus restoring mature kidney function.

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