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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Jan;300(1):F119-32. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00143.2010. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

AlphaV-integrins mediate the mechanoprotective action of osteopontin in podocytes.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.


Increased mechanical load in podocytes due to glomerular hypertension is one of the important factors leading to podocyte damage and chronic kidney disease. In previous studies, we have shown that mechanical stretch increases osteopontin (OPN) expression in podocytes and that exogenous OPN is mechanoprotective via facilitating cytoskeletal reorganization of podocytes. In the present study, we asked whether the mechanoprotective effect of OPN in podocytes is mediated through specific integrins and whether endogenous OPN of podocytes is required for mechanoprotection. Conditionally immortalized mouse podocytes and primary podocytes (PP) from OPN-/- and OPN+/+ mice were used. Cyclic biaxial mechanical stretch (0.5 Hz, 7% linear strain) was applied for up to 3 days. Stretch-induced cell loss was ∼30% higher in OPN-/- PP compared with OPN+/+ PP. Increased cell loss of OPN-/- PP was rescued by OPN coating. Analysis of integrin expression by RT-PCR, application of RGD and SLAYGLR peptides and anti-integrin antibodies, small-interfering RNA knockdown of integrins, and application of kinase inhibitors identified αV-integrins (αVβ1, αVβ3, and αVβ5) to mediate the mechano-protective effect of OPN in podocytes involving focal adhesion kinase, Src, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and mitogen-activated protein kinase. Our results demonstrate that endogenous OPN of podocytes plays a nonredundant role in podocyte adaptation to mechanical stretch, and that OPN signaling via α(V)-integrins may represent a relevant therapeutical target in podocytes.

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