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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018 Oct 1;315(4):F915-F926. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00534.2017. Epub 2018 May 2.

Expression of soluble epoxide hydrolase in renal tubular epithelial cells regulates macrophage infiltration and polarization in IgA nephropathy.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China.
Institute of Nephrology, Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou , China.
Department of Nephrology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou , China.
Blood Purification Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou , China.
Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou , China.


Tubulointerstitial inflammatory cell infiltration and activation contribute to kidney inflammation and fibrosis. Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), which are rapidly metabolized to dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids by the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), have multiple biological functions, including vasodilation, anti-inflammatory action, and others. Inhibition of sEH has been demonstrated to attenuate inflammation in many renal disease models. However, the relationship between sEH expression and macrophage polarization in the kidney remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the relationships between the level of sEH and clinical and pathological parameters in IgA nephropathy. The level of sEH expression positively correlated with proteinuria and infiltration of macrophages. sEH-positive tubules were found to be surrounded by macrophages. Furthermore, we found that incubation of immortalized human proximal tubular HK-2 cells with total urinary protein and overexpression of sEH promoted inflammatory factor production, which was associated with M1 polarization. We also exposed RAW264.7 mouse leukemic monocytes/macrophages to different HK-2 cell culture media conditioned by incubation with various substances affecting sEH amount or activity. We found that the upregulation of sEH promoted M1 polarization. However, pharmacological inhibition of sEH and supplementation with EETs reversed the conditioning effects of urinary proteins by inhibiting M1 polarization through the NF-κB pathway and stimulating M2 polarization through the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway. These data suggest that inhibition of sEH could be a new strategy to prevent the progression of inflammation and to attenuate renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis.


macrophage polarization; renal tubulointerstitial inflammation; soluble epoxide hydrolase

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