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Clin Nephrol. 2006 Jun;65(6):385-92.

Roles of TGF-beta1 and apoptosis in the progression of glomerulosclerosis in human IgA nephropathy.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.


Apoptotic glomerular cells have been detected in the severely damaged glomeruli that are a consequence of human IgA nephropathy. Transforming growth factor-(TGF) beta1 is known to induce apoptosis in cultured mesangial cells. To clarify whether TGF-beta1 contributes to the progression of IgA nephropathy by activating apoptosis in glomerular cells, we examined the expression of TGF-beta1 gene and apoptotic changes in kidney biopsy samples, and assessed those relations to the severity of nephropathy. 32 patients with IgA nephropathy, showing proteinuria (> 1 g/day) and serum creatinine less than 1.5 mg/dl were classified according to glomerular sclerosis index (GSI) into 3 groups (Group I: GSI < 0.3,Group 11: 0.3 < or = GSI < 1.0, Group: III GSI > or = 1.0). Computer-aided morphometry of glomeruli and arteries, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling of fragmented DNA (TUNEL) staining were performed. Expression of TGF-beta1 and caspase-3 mRNAs in renal biopsy samples was analyzed by real-time PCR (Taq Man method). Increased glomerular area, interstitial fibrosis, lymphocytic infiltration, and tubulointerstitial changes were observed to accompany increased severity of GSI. TUNEL index was higher in Group III. The levels of TGF-beta1 and caspase-3 mRNAs were significantly increased in Group III (183 and 190%, respectively). Furthermore, caspase-3 mRNA levels were tightly associated with TGF-beta1 mRNA expression (r = 0.677, p < 0.0001). The present study suggests that the activation of TGF-beta1 plays a role in the progression of IgA nephropathy even in the moderate degree of glomerular injury, in part via activation of apoptosis of glomerular cells.

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