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Kidney Int. 2018 Nov;94(5):887-899. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2018.06.008. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

HIF-1α promotes cyst progression in a mouse model of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

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Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany.
Department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Department of Physiology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.
Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany. Electronic address:


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is mainly caused by mutations of the PKD1 gene and characterized by growth of bilateral renal cysts. Cyst growth is accompanied by regional hypoxia and induction of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α in cyst-lining epithelial cells. To determine the relevance of HIF-1α for cyst growth in vivo we used an inducible kidney epithelium-specific knockout mouse to delete Pkd1 at postnatal day 20 or 35 to induce polycystic kidney disease of different severity and analyzed the effects of Hif-1α co-deletion and HIF-1α stabilization using a prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor. HIF-1α expression was enhanced in kidneys with progressive cyst growth induced by early Pkd1 deletion, but unchanged in the milder phenotype induced by later Pkd1 deletion. Hif-1α co-deletion significantly attenuated cyst growth in the severe, but not in the mild, phenotype. Application of a prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor resulted in severe aggravation of the mild phenotype with rapid loss of renal function. HIF-1α expression was associated with induction of genes that mediate calcium-activated chloride secretion. Thus, HIF-1α does not seem to play a role in early cyst formation, but accelerates cyst growth during progressive polycystic kidney disease. This novel mechanism of cyst growth may qualify as a therapeutic target.


hypoxia; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; polycystic kidney disease; prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitors

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