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Kidney Int. 2013 Dec;84(6):1119-28. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.217. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

The proto-oncogene c-Fos transcriptionally regulates VEGF production during peritoneal inflammation.

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Department of Nephrology and Medical Intensive Care, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin, Germany.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) are key mediators of adverse peritoneal membrane remodeling in peritoneal dialysis eventually leading to ultrafiltration failure. Both are pleiotropic growth factors with cell type-dependent regulation of expression and biological effects. Here we studied regulation of TGF-β1-induced VEGF expression in human peritoneal mesothelial cells in the absence or presence of proinflammatory stimuli, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) or interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Quiescent human peritoneal mesothelial cells secreted only trace amounts of VEGF. Stimulation with TGF-β1 resulted in time- and dose-dependent increases in VEGF mRNA expression and protein release. TNF-α and IL-1β alone had minimal effects but acted in synergy with TGF-β1. Combined stimulation led to induction of transcription factor c-Fos and activation of the VEGF promoter region with high-affinity binding sites for c-Fos. Inhibition of c-Fos by small interfering RNA interference or by pharmacological blockade with SR-11302 decreased VEGF promoter activity and downregulated its expression and release. Exposure of human peritoneal mesothelial cells to dialysate effluent containing increased levels of TGF-β1, TNF-α, and IL-1β obtained during peritonitis resulted in a dose-dependent VEGF induction that was significantly attenuated by SR-11302. Thus, dialysate TGF-β1, IL-1β, and TNF-α act through c-Fos to synergistically upregulate VEGF production in peritoneal mesothelium and may represent an important regulatory link between inflammation and angiogenesis in the peritoneal membrane.

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