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Kidney Int. 2013 Dec;84(6):1198-206. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.219. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

The cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase Iα suppresses kidney fibrosis.

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Lehrstuhl für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Institut für Pharmazie, Universität Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is synthesized by nitric oxide or natriuretic peptide-stimulated guanylyl cyclases and exhibits pleiotropic regulatory functions in the kidney. Hence, integration of cGMP signaling by cGMP-dependent protein kinases (cGKs) might play a critical role in renal physiology; however, detailed renal localization of cGKs is still lacking. Here, we performed an immunohistochemical analysis of cGKIα and cGKIβ isozymes in the mouse kidney and found both in arterioles, the mesangium, and within the cortical interstitium. In contrast to cGKIα, the β-isoform was not detected in the juxtaglomerular apparatus or medullary fibroblasts. Since interstitial fibroblasts play a prominent role in interstitial fibrosis, we focused our study on cGKI function in the interstitium, emphasizing a functional differentiation of both isoforms, and determined whether cGKIs influence renal fibrosis induced by unilateral ureter obstruction. Treatment with the guanylyl cyclase activators YC1 or isosorbide dinitrate showed stronger antifibrotic effects in wild-type than in cGKI-knockout or in smooth muscle-cGKIα-rescue mice, which are cGKI deficient in the kidney except in the renal vasculature. Moreover, fibrosis influenced the mRNA and protein expression levels of cGKIα more strongly than cGKIβ. Thus, our results indicate that cGMP, acting primarily through cGKIα, is an important suppressor of kidney fibrosis.

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