Publications by authors named "Belinda Wigg"

10 Publications

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Vascular calcification in skin and subcutaneous tissue in patients with chronic and end-stage kidney disease.

BMC Nephrol 2020 07 16;21(1):279. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria, 3050, Australia.

Background: Vascular calcification (VC) is well described in large- and medium-sized vessels in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially in those with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) on dialysis. Medial calcification is particularly prevalent in this population and contributes to arterial stiffness and increased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Apart from in the setting of calciphylaxis, few studies have assessed skin and subcutaneous calcification and associations with abnormalities of bone and mineral metabolism in patients with CKD.

Methods: We performed a single-centre observational study to evaluate incisional skin tissue samples from three anatomical sites in patients with different stages of CKD undergoing elective surgery. We compared these samples to skin samples of a control cohort without CKD. Staining for calcification was performed with von Kossa method. A subgroup of skin samples were assessed by RT-PCR for upregulation of pro-calcific gene transcripts for tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) and Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2).

Results: Forty-five patients were evaluated, 34 with CKD (including ESKD) and 11 control patients. VC was identified in 15 skin samples (13 CKD/ESKD and 2 controls). VC was present in the dermal and subcutaneous tissues of the neck, abdomen and arm samples. Two different histological types of VC were identified: speckled medial calcification and internal elastic lamina calcification. Presence of perieccrine calcification was identified in 14 samples, 10 with concurrent VC. There were no significant differences in serum parathyroid hormone, phosphate or calcium in patients with or without VC. Expression of TNAP or RUNX2 was not increased in samples from patients with ESKD or those with histological evidence of calcification.

Conclusion: This study reports the novel finding of dermal and subcutaneous calcification in multiple anatomical locations in 38% of patients with advanced CKD/ESKD undergoing elective surgery but free from calciphylaxis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12882-020-01928-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7364566PMC
July 2020

AT1R-AT2R-RXFP1 Functional Crosstalk in Myofibroblasts: Impact on the Therapeutic Targeting of Renal and Cardiac Fibrosis.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2019 11 11;30(11):2191-2207. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and

Background: Recombinant human relaxin-2 (serelaxin), which has organ-protective actions mediated its cognate G protein-coupled receptor relaxin family peptide receptor 1 (RXFP1), has emerged as a potential agent to treat fibrosis. Studies have shown that serelaxin requires the angiotensin II (AngII) type 2 receptor (ATR) to ameliorate renal fibrogenesis and . Whether its antifibrotic actions are affected by modulation of the AngII type 1 receptor (ATR), which is expressed on myofibroblasts along with RXFP1 and ATR, is unknown.

Methods: We examined the signal transduction mechanisms of serelaxin when applied to primary rat renal and human cardiac myofibroblasts , and in three models of renal- or cardiomyopathy-induced fibrosis .

Results: The ATR blockers irbesartan and candesartan abrogated antifibrotic signal transduction of serelaxin RXFP1 and . Candesartan also ameliorated serelaxin's antifibrotic actions in the left ventricle of mice with cardiomyopathy, indicating that candesartan's inhibitory effects were not confined to the kidney. We also demonstrated in a transfected cell system that serelaxin did not directly bind to ATRs but that constitutive ATR-RXFP1 interactions could form. To potentially explain these findings, we also demonstrated that renal and cardiac myofibroblasts expressed all three receptors and that antagonists acting at each receptor directly or allosterically blocked the antifibrotic effects of either serelaxin or an ATR agonist (compound 21).

Conclusions: These findings have significant implications for the concomitant use of RXFP1 or ATR agonists with ATR blockers, and suggest that functional interactions between the three receptors on myofibroblasts may represent new targets for controlling fibrosis progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2019060597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830801PMC
November 2019

Profiling histone modifications in the normal mouse kidney and after unilateral ureteric obstruction.

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2019 09 3;317(3):F606-F615. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Department of Nephrology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Posttranslational modification of nucleosomal histones is a major determinant of chromatin structure and gene activity. In the present study, we hypothesized that unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO), a widely used model of tubulointerstitial injury, would be associated with a distinct pattern of histone modifications (marks) in the kidney. Mass spectrometry was used to profile 63 different histone marks in normal mouse kidneys and those after 10 days of UUO. A subsequent histochemical analysis further examined examples of specific marks that changed significantly after UUO for which antisera are available. Histone marks were much more widely distributed and abundant in the normal kidney than is usually appreciated. Although aggregate analysis of the mass spectrometry results revealed net differences between control and UUO groups, residue-specific variations were subtle. Of the 16/63 significant changes ( < 0.05), only 8 changes were quantitatively different by >5%. Nevertheless, we identified several that are not usually examined in the kidney, including marks in the globular domain of core histones (H3:K79), linker histones (H1.4), and histone variants (H3.1:K27 and H3.3:K27). In several cases, there were complementary changes in different marks on the same amino acid. Using H3:K79ME2 as an example, mark enrichment was heterogeneous but largely colocalized with active transcription in a subset of tubular pathology. In conclusion, our study highlights the importance of unbiased screening in examining histone marks. Simultaneous changes in multiple marks on the same amino acid indicate a coordinated histone mark signature. The heterogeneous enrichment of marks, even within the same tubule, highlights the importance of regulatory context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajprenal.00262.2019DOI Listing
September 2019

TGF-β1 modifies histone acetylation and acetyl-coenzyme A metabolism in renal myofibroblasts.

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2019 Jan 9. Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Nephrology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia.

Histone acetylation is an important modulator of gene expression in fibrosis. This study examined the effect of the pre-eminent fibrogenic cytokine TGF-b1 on histone 3 (H3) acetylation and its regulatory kinetics in renal myofibroblasts. Fibroblasts propagated from rat kidneys after ureteric obstruction were treated with recombinant TGF-b1 or vehicle for 48 hours. TGF-b1 -induced myofibroblast activation was accompanied by a net decrease in total H3 acetylation, although changes in individual marks were variable. This was paralleled by a generalised reduction in histone acetyltransferases (HAT), and divergent changes in histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes at both transcript and protein levels. Globally this was manifest in a reduction in total HAT activity and increase in HDAC activity. TGF-b1 induced a shift in cellular metabolism from oxidative respiration to aerobic glycolysis resulting in reduced acetyl-CoA. The reduction in total H3 acetylation could be rescued by providing exogenous citrate or alternative sources of acetyl-CoA, without ameliorating changes in HAT/HDAC activity. In conclusion, TGF-b1 produces a metabolic reprogramming in renal fibroblasts, with less H3 acetylation through reduced acetylation, increased deacetylation and changes in carbon availability. Our results suggest that acetyl-CoA availability predominates over HAT and HDAC activity as a key determinant of H3 acetylation in response to TGF-b1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajprenal.00513.2018DOI Listing
January 2019

Epigenetic Modifications to H3K9 in Renal Tubulointerstitial Cells after Unilateral Ureteric Obstruction and TGF-β1 Stimulation.

Front Pharmacol 2017 29;8:307. Epub 2017 May 29.

Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, MelbourneVIC, Australia.

Epigenetic regulation of fibrogenesis through post-translational histone modifications (marks) may be a key determinant of progression in renal disease. In this study, we examined the distribution and acquisition of histone 3 Lysine 9 (H3K9) marks after injury and stimulation with the pro-fibrotic cytokine TGF-β1. Our focus was on their presence in activated fibroblasts (myofibroblasts) and epithelial cells (epithelial-mesenchymal transition). Immunofluorescent microscopy was used to examine global H3K9 acetylation (H3K9Ac) and tri-methylation (H3K9Me3) after unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO) in mice. Confocal, super resolution microscopy and flow cytometry were used to determine the effect of TGF-β1 on structural arrangement of these marks, and their relationship with α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) expression, a marker of myofibroblasts and early EMT. The number of individual histone marks was increased 10 days after UUO ( < 0.05 vs. control), with both marks clearly seen in various cell types including proximal tubules and myofibroblasts. Sub-nuclear microscopy in primary rat renal fibroblasts and a proximal tubule cell line (NRK-52e) showed that H3K9Ac was co-localized with phosphorylated-Ser2 RNA polymerase II (pRNAPol II), while H3K9Me3 was not, consistent with permissive and repressive effects on gene expression respectively. In both cell types H3K9Ac was diffusely distributed throughout the nucleus, while H3K9Me3 was found in compartments resembling the nucleolus, and in the case of the fibroblast, also juxtapositioned with the nuclear membrane. TGF-β1 had no effect on H3K9Ac marks in either cell, but resulted in a redistribution of H3K9Me3 within the fibroblast nucleus. This was unrelated to any change in mitogenesis, but was associated with increased αSMA expression. These findings highlight why it is important to consider the epigenetics of each cell individually, because whilst no overall enrichment occurred, renal myofibroblast differentiation was accompanied by distinct changes in histone mark arrangements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00307DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5447091PMC
May 2017

Relative abundance of fetuin- A in peritoneal dialysis effluent and its association with in situ formation of calciprotein particles: an observational pilot study.

Nephrology (Carlton) 2015 Jan;20(1):6-10

Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Aim: In patients with renal failure or chronic inflammation, the accumulation of fetuin-A-containing calciprotein particles (CPP) in the extracellular fluid has been implicated in driving inflammatory pathways and extraosseous mineral deposition. We aimed to discover whether CPP are present in the peritoneal dialysis fluid effluent (PDF) of stable peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, and if so, how these particles might be formed.

Methods: Serum and PDF were sampled from 20 stable PD patients. CPP were quantified by the reduction in fetuin-A concentration after high speed centrifugation. 8-iso-PGF2α in PDF was measured as a marker of oxidative stress. Fetuin-A and phosphate were added to commercially available dialysis fluids to assess their ability to support CPP formation ex vivo.

Results: We report that the major protein component of these mineral-containing nanoparticles, fetuin-A, is relatively abundant in PDF and that CPP were present in the PDF of 17/20 PD patients. PDF CPP levels were strongly correlated with 8-iso-PGF2α concentrations. In vitro experiments suggested that commonly used peritoneal dialysate fluids, irrespective of composition, could not sustain appreciable de novo CPP formation ex vivo.

Conclusion: Fetuin-A is either actively transported or locally produced by the peritoneal membrane in PD patients. The association between fetuin-A-containing CPP and markers of oxidative stress warrants further mechanistic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nep.12350DOI Listing
January 2015

Relaxin requires the angiotensin II type 2 receptor to abrogate renal interstitial fibrosis.

Kidney Int 2014 Jul 15;86(1):75-85. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

1] Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia [2] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia [3] Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia.

Fibrosis is a hallmark of chronic kidney disease, for which there is currently no effective cure. The hormone relaxin is emerging as an effective antifibrotic therapy; however, its mechanism of action is poorly understood. Recent studies have shown that relaxin disrupts the profibrotic actions of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) by its cognate receptor, relaxin family peptide receptor 1 (RXFP1), extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation, and a neuronal nitric oxide synthase-dependent pathway to abrogate Smad2 phosphorylation. Since angiotensin II also inhibits TGF-β1 activity through its AT2 receptor (AT2R), we investigated the extent to which relaxin interacts with the AT2R. The effects of the AT2R antagonist, PD123319, on relaxin activity were examined in primary rat kidney myofibroblasts, and in kidney tissue from relaxin-treated male wild-type and AT2R-knockout mice subjected to unilateral ureteric obstruction. Relaxin's antifibrotic actions were significantly blocked by PD123319 in vitro and in vivo, or when relaxin was administered to AT2R-knockout mice. While heterodimer complexes were formed between RXFP1 and AT2Rs independent of ligand binding, relaxin did not directly bind to AT2Rs but signaled through RXFP1-AT2R heterodimers to induce its antifibrotic actions. These findings highlight a hitherto unrecognized interaction that may be targeted to control fibrosis progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ki.2013.518DOI Listing
July 2014

Relaxin and castration in male mice protect from, but testosterone exacerbates, age-related cardiac and renal fibrosis, whereas estrogens are an independent determinant of organ size.

Endocrinology 2012 Jan 25;153(1):188-99. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

This study determined the effects of castration and hormone replacement therapy on the age-related cardiac and renal pathology of male relaxin gene-knockout (RlnKO) and age-matched wild-type (RlnWT) mice and that of aged male aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice, which lack estrogens and have 5-10 times the androgen levels of male wild-type mice. One-month-old RlnWT and RlnKO mice were bilaterally gonadectomized or sham operated and maintained until 12 months. Subgroups of castrated animals received testosterone or 17β-estradiol treatment from 9 to 12 months. Male ArKO mice and aromatase wild-type mice were aged to 12 months. Collected heart and kidney tissues were assessed for changes in organ size and fibrosis. Castration reduced body, heart, left ventricle, and kidney weights in both RlnKO and RlnWT mice, and the cardiac/renal fibrosis that was seen in sham RlnKO animals (all P < 0.05 vs. respective sham). Testosterone normalized organ weights and organ weight to body weight ratio of castrated animals and increased cardiac/renal collagen concentration to levels measured in or beyond that of sham RlnKO mice (all P < 0.05 vs. respective castrated mice). Furthermore, expression of TGF-β1, mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 2 (Smad2), and myofibroblast differentiation paralleled the above changes (all P < 0.05 vs. respective castrated mice), whereas matrix metalloproteinase-13 was decreased in testosterone-treated RlnKO mice. Conversely, 17β-estradiol only restored changes in organ size. Consistent with these findings, intact ArKO mice demonstrated increased cardiac/renal fibrosis in the absence of changes in organ size. These findings suggest that relaxin and castration protect, whereas androgens exacerbate, cardiac and renal fibrosis during ageing, whereas estrogens, in synergy with relaxin, regulates age-related changes in organ size.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1311DOI Listing
January 2012

Long-term mineralocorticoid receptor blockade ameliorates progression of experimental diabetic renal disease.

Nephrol Dial Transplant 2012 Mar 8;27(3):906-12. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

The final end point of diabetic renal disease is the accumulation of excess collagen. A number of studies have shown that aldosterone antagonism ameliorates progression of renal fibrosis. This study was designed to examine the effect of the mineralocorticoid receptor blocker eplerenone (EPL) on progression in streptozotocin (STZ)-treated spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), an accelerated model of Type I diabetes. STZ-treated SHRs with a blood glucose >18 mmol/L were randomly divided into treatment (100 mg/kg/day EPL) and non-treatment groups. Sham-injected SHR animals were used as a control. Functional parameters were monitored for 16 weeks, with structural parameters assessed at completion. Both hyperglycaemic groups developed progressive albuminuria, but the increase was ameliorated by EPL from Week 12. STZ-SHRs had elevated kidney weight/body weight ratio, glomerular size, glomerular macrophages (ED-1-positive cells), tissue transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) concentrations and glomerular collagen IV staining (all P < 0.05 versus control animals). EPL reduced glomerular volume, TGFβ1 expression and glomerular collagen IV without changing glomerular macrophage infiltration. The ability of EPL to ameliorate these functional and structural changes in hyperglycaemic SHRs suggest that EPL has a renoprotective role in diabetic renal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfr495DOI Listing
March 2012

Tissue preparation for histochemistry: fixation, embedding, and antigen retrieval for light microscopy.

Methods Mol Biol 2010 ;611:3-18

Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

A number of techniques have been developed to use chemical, immunological, and molecular biology assays in histological material. Collectively termed histochemistry, these techniques have allowed us to better understand tissue and organ biology in situ. Success with each of these methods is dependent on the adequate preparation of material. In this article, we describe the basic steps required to prepare tissue for routine histochemical analysis.Histochemical techniques routinely use frozen and paraffin-embedded tissue as a basis for cellular and morphological analysis. Freezing tissue results in less alteration to epitopes and therefore may offer improved staining characteristics compared to techniques based on paraffin embedding. As in conventional histology, the use of fixation and embedding in more rigid media such as wax offers a number of potential advantages related to improved structural detail. Improvements in morphology may however be offset by a loss of antigens. The careful application of antigen retrieval techniques may overcome these deficiencies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60327-345-9_1DOI Listing
February 2010
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