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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2018 Dec 24. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfy381. [Epub ahead of print]

Fate alteration of bone marrow-derived macrophages ameliorates kidney fibrosis in murine model of unilateral ureteral obstruction.

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Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, Shanxi, People's Republic of China.
Department of Nephrology, Second Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, Shanxi Kidney Disease Institute, Taiyuan, Shanxi, People's Republic of China.
Centre for Transplant and Renal Research, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
The Research Center for Immunology, School of Laboratory Medicine, Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang, People's Republic of China.



Renal fibrosis is a key pathological feature and final common pathway leading to end-stage kidney failure in many chronic kidney diseases. Myofibroblast is the master player in renal fibrosis. However, myofibroblasts are heterogeneous. Recent studies show that bone marrow-derived macrophages transform into myofibroblasts by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-induced macrophage-myofibroblast transition (MMT) in renal fibrosis.


TGF-β signaling was redirected by inhibition of β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) to increase β-catenin/Foxo in bone marrow-derived macrophages. A kidney fibrosis model of unilateral ureteral obstruction was performed in EGFP bone marrow chimera mouse. MMT was examined by flow cytometry analysis of GFP+F4/80+α-SMA+ cells from unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) kidney, and by immunofluorescent staining of bone marrow-derived macrophages in vitro. Inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines were analysis by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Inhibition of β-catenin/TCF by ICG-001 combined with TGF-β1 treatment increased β-catenin/Foxo1, reduced the MMT and inflammatory cytokine production by bone marrow-derived macrophages, and thereby, reduced kidney fibrosis in the UUO model.


Our results demonstrate that diversion of β-catenin from TCF to Foxo1-mediated transcription not only inhibits the β-catenin/TCF-mediated fibrotic effect of TGF-β, but also enhances its anti-inflammatory action, allowing therapeutic use of TGF-β to reduce both inflammation and fibrosis at least partially by changing the fate of bone marrow-derived macrophages.


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