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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Oct;24(10):1599-616. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013010030. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Plasticity of renal erythropoietin-producing cells governs fibrosis.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Biochemistry.

Abstract

CKD progresses with fibrosis and erythropoietin (Epo)-dependent anemia, leading to increased cardiovascular complications, but the mechanisms linking Epo-dependent anemia and fibrosis remain unclear. Here, we show that the cellular phenotype of renal Epo-producing cells (REPs) alternates between a physiologic Epo-producing state and a pathologic fibrogenic state in response to microenvironmental signals. In a novel mouse model, unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced inflammatory milieu activated NFκB and Smad signaling pathways in REPs, rapidly repressed the Epo-producing potential of REPs, and led to myofibroblast transformation of these cells. Moreover, we developed a unique Cre-based cell-fate tracing method that marked current and/or previous Epo-producing cells and revealed that the majority of myofibroblasts are derived from REPs. Genetic induction of NFκB activity selectively in REPs resulted in myofibroblastic transformation, indicating that NFκB signaling elicits a phenotypic switch. Reversing the unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced inflammatory microenvironment restored the Epo-producing potential and the physiologic phenotype of REPs. This phenotypic reversion was accelerated by anti-inflammatory therapy. These findings demonstrate that REPs possess cellular plasticity, and suggest that the phenotypic transition of REPs to myofibroblasts, modulated by inflammatory molecules, underlies the connection between anemia and renal fibrosis in CKD.

PMID:
23833259
PMCID:
PMC3785278
DOI:
10.1681/ASN.2013010030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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