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Concept: Kidney


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common consequence of systemic illness or injury and it complicates several forms of major surgery. Two major difficulties have hampered progress in AKI research and clinical management. AKI is difficult to detect early and its pathogenesis is still poorly understood. We recently reported results from multi-center studies where two urinary markers of cell-cycle arrest, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) were validated for development of AKI well ahead of clinical manifestations-azotemia and oliguria. Cell-cycle arrest is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of AKI and this ‘dark side’ may also involve progression to chronic kidney disease. However, cell-cycle arrest has a ‘light side’ as well, since this mechanism can protect cells from the disastrous consequences of entering cell division with damaged DNA or insufficient bioenergetic resources during injury or stress. Whether we can use the light side to help prevent AKI remains to be seen, but there is already evidence that cell-cycle arrest biomarkers are indicators of both sides of this complex physiology.

Concepts: DNA, Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cell division


Alport syndrome is a hereditary glomerulopathy with proteinuria and nephritis caused by defects in genes encoding type IV collagen in the glomerular basement membrane. All male and most female patients develop end-stage renal disease. Effective treatment to stop or decelerate the progression of proteinuria and nephritis is still under investigation. Here we showed that combination treatment of mild electrical stress (MES) and heat stress (HS) ameliorated progressive proteinuria and renal injury in mouse model of Alport syndrome. The expressions of kidney injury marker neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β were suppressed by MES+HS treatment. The anti-proteinuric effect of MES+HS treatment is mediated by podocytic activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-OH kinase (PI3K)-Akt and heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72)-dependent pathways in vitro and in vivo. The anti-inflammatory effect of MES+HS was mediated by glomerular activation of c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase ½ (JNK1/2) and p38-dependent pathways ex vivo. Collectively, our studies show that combination treatment of MES and HS confers anti-proteinuric and anti-inflammatory effects on Alport mice likely through the activation of multiple signaling pathways including PI3K-Akt, Hsp72, JNK1/2, and p38 pathways, providing a novel candidate therapeutic strategy to decelerate the progression of patho-phenotypes in Alport syndrome.

Concepts: Kidney, Nephrology, Collagen, Glomerulus, In vivo, In vitro, Glomerulonephritis, Alport syndrome


To assess the risk of medication errors in subjects with renal impairment (defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≤40 ml/min/1.73 m(2)) and the effectiveness of automatic eGFR ≤40-alerts relayed to community pharmacists.

Concepts: Renal failure, Kidney, Nephrology, Dialysis, Glomerulus, Renal function


BACKGROUND: Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder caused by alpha-galactosidase A deficiency leading to renal, cardiac, cerebrovascular disease and premature death. Treatment with alpha-galactosidase A (enzyme replacement therapy, ERT) stabilises disease in some patients, but long term effectiveness is unclear. METHODS: Renal, cardiac, and cerebral outcomes were prospectively studied in males and females with Fabry disease treated with ERT. Additionally, the occurrence of major cardiac events, stroke, end-stage renal disease and death was compared to a natural history (NH) cohort meeting treatment criteria. RESULTS: Of 75 patients on ERT (median treatment duration 5.2 years, range 0.05-11.0), prospective follow-up was available for 57 adult patients (30 males) and 6 adolescents. Renal function declined in males (-3.4 ml/min/1.73 m2 per year, SE 0.2; p < 0.001) despite ERT, but followed the normal course in females (-0.8 ml/min/1.73 m2 per year, SE 0.3; p = 0.001). Cardiac mass increased during ERT in males (+ 1.2 gram/m2.7, SE 0.3; p < 0.001), but remained stable in females (-0.3 gram/m2.7 per year, SE 0.4; p = 0.52). ERT did not prevent the occurrence of cerebral white matter lesions. Comparison of ERT treated to untreated patients revealed that the odds to develop a first complication increased with age (OR 1.05 (95% CI: 1.0-1.1) per year, p = 0.012). For development of a first or second complication the odds declined with longer treatment duration (OR 0.81 (95% CI: 0.68-0.96) per year of ERT, p = 0.015;OR 0.52 (0.31-0.88), p = 0.014 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Long term ERT does not prevent disease progression, but the risk of developing a first or second complication declines with increasing treatment duration. ERT in advanced Fabry disease seems of doubtful benefit.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Death, Lysosomal storage disease, Enzyme replacement therapy, Fabry disease


BACKGROUND: Renal scintigraphy using 99mTc-mercaptoacetyltriglycine (99mTc-MAG3) is widely used for the assessment of renal function in humans. However, the application of this method to animal models of renal disease is currently limited, especially in rodents. Here, we have applied 99mTc-MAG3 renal scintigraphy to a mouse model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) and evaluated its utility in studying obstructive renal disease. METHODS: UUO mice were generated by complete ligation of the left ureter. Sham-operated mice were used as a control. Renal function was investigated on days 0, 1, 3, and 6 post-surgery using dynamic planar imaging of 99mTc-MAG3 activity following retro-orbital injection. Time-activity curves (TACs) were produced for individual kidneys and renal function was assessed by 1) the slope of initial 99mTc-MAG3 uptake (SIU), which is related to renal perfusion; 2) peak activity; and 3) the time-to-peak (TTP). The parameters of tubular excretion were not evaluated in this study as 99mTc-MAG3 is not excreted from UUO kidneys. RESULTS: Compared to sham-operated mice, SIU was remarkably (>60%) reduced in UUO kidneys at day 1 post surgery and the TACs plateaued, indicating that 99mTc-MAG3 is not excreted in these kidneys. The plateau activity in UUO kidneys was relatively low (~40% of sham kidney’s peak activity) as early as day1 post surgery, demonstrating that uptake of 99mTc-MAG3 is rapidly reduced in UUO kidneys. The time to plateau in UUO kidneys exceeded 200 sec, suggesting that 99mTc-MAG3 is slowly up-taken in these kidneys. These changes advanced as the disease progressed. SIU, peak activity and TTPs were minimally changed in contra-lateral kidneys during the study period. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that renal uptake of 99mTc-MAG3 is remarkably and rapidly reduced in UUO kidneys, while the changes are minimal in contra-lateral kidneys. The parametric analysis of TACs suggested that renal perfusion as well as tubular uptake is reduced in UUO kidneys. This imaging technique should allow non-invasive assessments of UUO renal injury and enable a more rapid interrogation of novel therapeutic agents and protocols.

Concepts: Kidney, Urinary system, Ureter, Renal artery, Renal vein, Hydronephrosis


Prolonged hypothermic storage causes ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in the renal graft, which is considered to contribute to the occurrence of the delayed graft function (DGF) and chronic graft failure. Strategies are required to protect the graft and to prolong renal graft survival. We demonstrated that xenon exposure to human proximal tubular cells (HK-2) led to activation of range of protective proteins. Xenon treatment prior to or after hypothermia-hypoxia challenge stabilized the HK-2 cellular structure, diminished cytoplasmic translocation of high-mobility group box (HMGB) 1 and suppressed NF-κB activation. In the syngeneic Lewis-to-Lewis rat model of kidney transplantation, xenon exposure to donors before graft retrieval or to recipients after engraftment decreased caspase-3 expression, localized HMGB-1 within nuclei and prevented TLR-4/NF-κB activation in tubular cells; serum pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were reduced and renal function was preserved. Xenon treatment of graft donors or of recipients prolonged renal graft survival following IRI in both Lewis-to-Lewis isografts and Fischer-to-Lewis allografts. Xenon induced cell survival or graft functional recovery was abolished by HIF-1α siRNA. Our data suggest that xenon treatment attenuates DGF and enhances graft survival. This approach could be translated into clinical practice leading to a considerable improvement in long-term graft survival.

Concepts: Protein, Kidney, Nephrology, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytoplasm, Organ transplant, Protection


This study took a retrospective approach to investigate patients with catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) over 2 years at a single hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) to identify meaningful risk factors and causative organisms.

Concepts: Kidney, Urinary tract infection, Urine, Intensive care medicine


BACKGROUND: Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is an important hormone in the regulation of phosphate metabolism. It is unclear whether FGF23 is associated with carotid artery calcification (CAAC) in predialysis patients. The present study aimed to clarify the relationship between FGF23 and CAAC in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who were not on dialysis. METHODS: One-hundred ninety-five predialysis CKD patients were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. CAAC was assessed using multidetector computed tomography, and the prevalence of CAAC was examined. Intact FGF23 was measured in each patient. The risk factors for CAAC were evaluated using a logistic regression model. RESULTS: We found CAAC in 66% of the patients. The prevalence of CAAC significantly increased across CKD stages: it was 37% in CKD stages 1–2, 58% in stage 3; 75% in stage 4, and 77% in stage 5 (p < 0.01). In multivariate analysis, smoking, diabetes mellitus and log FGF23 were each identified as risk factors for CAAC. The study population was divided in quartiles of FGF23 levels. Compared with the lowest FGF23 quartile, each subsequent quartile had a progressively higher odds ratio (OR) for CAAC, adjusted for confounders (ORs [95% confidence interval] of 2.34 [0.78 to 7.31], 5.28 [1.56 to 19.5], and 13.6 [2.92 to 74.6] for the second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of CAAC is increased with the decline in the kidney function. FGF23 is independently related to CAAC in patients with CKD who are not on dialysis.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus, Medical statistics


BACKGROUND: Surfactant protein A (SP-A), encoded by two functional genes, SP-A1 and SP-A2, is essential for the inflammatory process and host defence in the lungs. Recent studies have demonstrated the extrapulmonary expression of SP-A. Similar to the lungs, the kidneys are organs exposed to external pathogens. The present study evaluated the expression and location of SP-A in the kidneys. The effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the expression of SP-A subtypes was also studied in renal tubular epithelial (HK-2) cells. METHODS: Immunohistochemical staining was performed using polyclonal antibody against SP-A. RT-PCR was also performed using mRNA from normal human renal tissues and HK-2 cells. The expressions of the SP-A1 and SP-A2 genes were determined by PCR-based RFLP analysis, gene-specific amplification, and direct sequencing of RT-PCR products. Western blot was conducted to analyse the SP-A protein. HK-2 cells were treated with LPS at various concentrations (0, 0.1, 1, 2, 5, and 10 mug/mL) for 8 h and at 5 mug/mL at various time points (0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 24 h). The LPS-induced expressions of SP-A1 and SP-A2 mRNA and protein were analysed by RT-PCR and Western blot. RESULTS: SP-A was localised in the renal tubular epithelial cells in the proximal and distal convoluted tubules. SP-A1 and SP-A2 mRNA and protein were expressed in HK-2 cells and human renal tissues, which were significantly increased in time- and dose-dependent manners after LPS treatment (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Human renal tubular epithelial cells can express both SP-A1 and SP-A2 genes, which may play important roles in the inflammatory modulation of the kidney.

Concepts: Antibody, DNA, Protein, Kidney, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Molecular biology


Since the discovery that proteins mutated in different forms of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) are tightly associated with primary cilia, strong efforts have been made to define the role of this organelle in the pathogenesis of cyst formation. Cilia are filiform microtubular structures, anchored in the basal body and extending from the apical membrane into the tubular lumen. Early work established that cilia act as flow sensors, eliciting calcium transients in response to bending, which involve the two proteins mutated in autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD), polycystin-1 and -2. Loss of cilia alone is insufficient to cause cyst formation. Nevertheless, a large body of evidence links flow sensing by cilia to aspects relevant for cyst formation such as cell polarity, Stat6- and mammalian target of rapamycin signalling. This review summarizes the current literature on cilia and flow sensing with respect to PKD and discusses how these findings intercalate with different aspects of cyst formation.

Concepts: Immune system, Kidney, Cell, Genetic disorder, Golgi apparatus, Cytoskeleton, Polycystic kidney disease, Cilium