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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 14;9(8):e104091. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104091. eCollection 2014.

A maladaptive role for EP4 receptors in mouse mesangial cells.

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Department of Nephrology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong university, Nantong, Jiangsu, China; Department of Rheumatology, Affiliated Hospital of Jiangnan University (Wuxi 4th People's Hospital), Wuxi, Jiangsu, China.
Department of Nephrology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong university, Nantong, Jiangsu, China.
Shanghai Jiaotong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.


Roles of the prostaglandin E2 E-prostanoid 4 receptor (EP4) on extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation induced by TGF-β1 in mouse glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) remain unknown. Previously, we have identified that TGF-β1 stimulates the expression of FN and Col I in mouse GMCs. Here we asked whether stimulation of EP4 receptors would exacerbate renal fibrosis associated with enhanced glomerular ECM accumulation. We generated EP4(Flox/Flox) and EP4(+/-) mice, cultured primary WT, EP4(Flox/Flox) and EP4(+/-) GMCs, AD-EP4 transfected WT GMCs (EP4 overexpression) and AD-Cre transfected EP4(Flox/Flox) GMCs (EP4 deleted). We found that TGF-β1-induced cAMP and PGE2 synthesis decreased in EP4 deleted GMCs and increased in EP4 overexpressed GMCs. Elevated EP4 expression in GMCs augmented the coupling of TGF-β1 to FN, Col I expression and COX2/PGE2 signaling, while TGF-β1 induced FN, Col I expression and COX2/PGE2 signaling were down-regulated in EP4 deficiency GMCs. 8 weeks after 5/6 nephrectomy (Nx), WT and EP4(+/-) mice exhibited markedly increased accumulation of ECM compared with sham-operated controls. Albuminuria, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine (BUN and Cr) concentrations were significantly increased in WT mice as compared to those of EP4(+/-) mice. Urine osmotic pressure was dramatically decreased after 5/6 Nx surgery in WT mice as compared to EP4(+/-) mice. The pathological changes in kidney of EP4(+/-) mice was markedly alleviated compared with WT mice. Immunohistochemical analysis showed significant reductions of Col I and FN in the kidney of EP4(+/-) mice compared with WT mice. Collectively, this investigation established EP4 as a potent mediator of the pro-TGF-β1 activities elicited by COX2/PGE2 in mice GMCs. Our findings suggested that prostaglandin E2, acting via EP4 receptors contributed to accumulation of ECM in GMCs and promoted renal fibrosis.

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