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Am J Pathol. 2011 Oct;179(4):1681-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.06.013. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Adverse host factors exacerbate occult HIV-associated nephropathy.

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Department of Medicine, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, New York, NY 11021, USA.


In the present study, we hypothesized that HIV-1-induced occult HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) would become apparent in the presence of adverse host factors. To test our hypothesis, Vpr mice (which display doxycycline-dependent Vpr expression in podocytes) with two, three, and four copies of the angiotensinogen (Agt) gene (Vpr-Agt-2, Vpr-Agt-3, and Vpr-Agt-4) were administered doxycycline for 3 weeks (to develop clinically occult HIVAN) followed by doxycycline-free water during the next 3 weeks. Subsequently, renal biomarkers were measured, and kidneys were harvested for renal histology. Vpr-Agt-2 developed neither proteinuria nor elevated blood pressure, and displayed minimal glomerular and tubular lesions only, without any microcyst formation. Vpr-Agt-3 showed mild glomerular and tubular lesions and microcyst formation, whereas Vpr-Agt-4 showed moderate proteinuria, hypertension, glomerular sclerosis, tubular dilation, microcysts, and expression of epithelial mesenchymal transition markers. Vpr-Agt-4 not only displayed enhanced renal tissue expression of Agt, renin, and angiotensin-converting enzyme, but also had higher renal tissue concentrations of angiotensin II. Moreover, renal cells in Vpr-Agt-4 showed enhanced expression of transforming growth factor-β, connective tissue growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor. These findings indicate that adverse host factors, such as the activation of the renin-angiotensin system, promote the progression of occult HIVAN to apparent HIVAN.

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