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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2012 Feb;23(2):294-304. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2011050490. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Matrix metalloproteinase-7 as a surrogate marker predicts renal Wnt/β-catenin activity in CKD.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


A variety of chronic kidney diseases exhibit reactivation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. In some tissues, β-catenin transcriptionally regulates matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), but the association between MMP-7 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in chronic kidney disease is unknown. Here, in mouse models of both obstructive nephropathy and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (adriamycin nephropathy), we observed upregulation of MMP-7 mRNA and protein in a time-dependent manner. The pattern and extent of MMP-7 induction were positively associated with Wnt/β-catenin signaling in these models. Activation of β-catenin through ectopic expression of Wnt1 promoted MMP-7 expression in vivo, whereas delivery of the gene encoding the endogenous Wnt antagonist Dickkopf-1 abolished its induction. Levels of MMP-7 protein detected in the urine correlated with renal Wnt/β-catenin activity. Pharmacologic blockade of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by paricalcitol inhibited MMP-7 expression in diseased kidneys and reduced the levels detected in the urine. In vitro, β-catenin activation induced the expression and secretion of MMP-7 and promoted the binding of T cell factor to the MMP-7 promoter in kidney epithelial cells. We also observed higher levels of MMP-7 expression, which correlated with β-catenin, in kidney tissue from patients with various nephropathies. In summary, levels of renal MMP-7 correlate with Wnt/β-catenin activity, and urinary MMP-7 may be a noninvasive biomarker of this profibrotic signaling in the kidney.

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