Publications by authors named "Viji Nair"

58 Publications

Gene expression profiles of diabetic kidney disease and neuropathy in eNOS knockout mice: Predictors of pathology and RAS blockade effects.

FASEB J 2021 May;35(5):e21467

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) are two common diabetic complications. However, their pathogenesis remains elusive and current therapies are only modestly effective. We evaluated genome-wide expression to identify pathways involved in DKD and DPN progression in db/db eNOS-/- mice receiving renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAS)-blocking drugs to mimic the current standard of care for DKD patients. Diabetes and eNOS deletion worsened DKD, which improved with RAS treatment. Diabetes also induced DPN, which was not affected by eNOS deletion or RAS blockade. Given the multiple factors affecting DKD and the graded differences in disease severity across mouse groups, an automatic data analysis method, SOM, or self-organizing map was used to elucidate glomerular transcriptional changes associated with DKD, whereas pairwise bioinformatic analysis was used for DPN. These analyses revealed that enhanced gene expression in several pro-inflammatory networks and reduced expression of development genes correlated with worsening DKD. Although RAS treatment ameliorated the nephropathy phenotype, it did not alter the more abnormal gene expression changes in kidney. Moreover, RAS exacerbated expression of genes related to inflammation and oxidant generation in peripheral nerves. The graded increase in inflammatory gene expression and decrease in development gene expression with DKD progression underline the potentially important role of these pathways in DKD pathogenesis. Since RAS blockers worsened this gene expression pattern in both DKD and DPN, it may partly explain the inadequate therapeutic efficacy of such blockers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.202002387RDOI Listing
May 2021

IGFBP-1 expression is reduced in human type 2 diabetic glomeruli and modulates β1-integrin/FAK signalling in human podocytes.

Diabetologia 2021 Mar 24. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Bristol Renal, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Aims/hypothesis: Podocyte loss or injury is one of the earliest features observed in the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), which is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure worldwide. Dysfunction in the IGF axis, including in IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs), is associated with DKD, particularly in the early stages of disease progression. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential roles of IGFBPs in the development of type 2 DKD, focusing on podocytes.

Methods: IGFBP expression was analysed in the Pima DKD cohort, alongside data from the Nephroseq database, and in ex vivo human glomeruli. Conditionally immortalised human podocytes and glomerular endothelial cells were studied in vitro, where IGFBP-1 expression was analysed using quantitative PCR and ELISAs. Cell responses to IGFBPs were investigated using migration, cell survival and adhesion assays; electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing; western blotting; and high-content automated imaging.

Results: Data from the Pima DKD cohort and from the Nephroseq database demonstrated a significant reduction in glomerular IGFBP-1 in the early stages of human type 2 DKD. In the glomerulus, IGFBP-1 was predominantly expressed in podocytes and controlled by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-forkhead box O1 (FoxO1) activity. In vitro, IGFBP-1 signalled to podocytes via β1-integrins, resulting in increased phosphorylation of focal-adhesion kinase (FAK), increasing podocyte motility, adhesion, electrical resistance across the adhesive cell layer and cell viability.

Conclusions/interpretation: This work identifies a novel role for IGFBP-1 in the regulation of podocyte function and that the glomerular expression of IGFBP-1 is reduced in the early stages of type 2 DKD, via reduced FoxO1 activity. Thus, we hypothesise that strategies to maintain glomerular IGFBP-1 levels may be beneficial in maintaining podocyte function early in DKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00125-021-05427-1DOI Listing
March 2021

Annexin A1 alleviates kidney injury by promoting the resolution of inflammation in diabetic nephropathy.

Kidney Int 2021 Mar 3. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Institute of Systems Biomedicine, School of Basic Medical Sciences; Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Science, Ministry of Education; Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Molecular Biology and Regulatory Peptides, Ministry of Health; Beijing Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Receptors Research; Peking University Health Science Center; Beijing 100191, China; China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases, Tiantan Hospital, Advanced Innovation Center for Human Brain Protection, The Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China.. Electronic address:

Since failed resolution of inflammation is a major contributor to the progression of diabetic nephropathy, identifying endogenously generated molecules that promote the physiological resolution of inflammation may be a promising therapeutic approach for this disease. Annexin A1 (ANXA1), as an endogenous mediator, plays an important role in resolving inflammation. Whether ANXA1 could affect established diabetic nephropathy through modulating inflammatory states remains largely unknown. In the current study, we found that in patients with diabetic nephropathy, the levels of ANXA1 were upregulated in kidneys, and correlated with kidney function as well as kidney outcomes. Therefore, the role of endogenous ANXA1 in mouse models of diabetic nephropathy was further evaluated. ANXA1 deficiency exacerbated kidney injuries, exhibiting more severe albuminuria, mesangial matrix expansion, tubulointerstitial lesions, kidney inflammation and fibrosis in high fat diet/streptozotocin-induced-diabetic mice. Consistently, ANXA1 overexpression ameliorated kidney injuries in mice with diabetic nephropathy. Additionally, we found Ac2-26 (an ANXA1 mimetic peptide) had therapeutic potential for alleviating kidney injuries in db/db mice and diabetic Anxa1 knockout mice. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that intracellular ANXA1 bound to the transcription factor NF-κB p65 subunit, inhibiting its activation thereby modulating the inflammatory state. Thus, our data indicate that ANXA1 may be a promising therapeutic approach to treating and reversing diabetic nephropathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2021.02.025DOI Listing
March 2021

Urinary excretion of epidermal growth factor and rapid loss of kidney function.

Nephrol Dial Transplant 2020 Oct 17. Epub 2020 Oct 17.

Metabolic and Renal Research Group, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Background: Lower urinary excretion of the kidney tubule-specific biomarker epidermal growth factor (uEGF) is associated with increased risk of renal function [glomerular filtration rate (GFR)] loss in diabetes and in patients with established chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated whether uEGF is associated with rapid GFR decline or incident CKD in the general population.

Methods: Subjects without CKD or diabetes were recruited from the general population in Tromso, Norway [Renal Iohexol Clearance Survey (RENIS); N = 1249] and Groningen, the Netherlands [Prevention of REnal and Vascular END-stage disease (PREVEND); N = 4534], with a median follow-up of 5.6 and 7.4 years, respectively. GFR was measured by iohexol clearance in the RENIS and estimated using the CKD Epidemiology Collaboration creatinine-cystatin C equation in the PREVEND study. Rapid GFR decline was defined as an annual GFR loss >3.0 mL/min/1.73 m2 and in sensitivity analyses as subjects with the 10% steepest GFR slope within each cohort.

Results: Lower baseline uEGF excretion was associated with rapid GFR loss in both cohorts {RENIS, odds ratio [OR] per 1 μg/mmol lower uEGF 1.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-1.91], P = 0.02; PREVEND, OR 1.29 [95% CI 1.10-1.53], P < 0.01}, adjusted for baseline GFR, albumin:creatinine ratio and conventional CKD risk factors. Similar results were obtained using the outcome of the 10% steepest GFR slope in each cohort. Lower uEGF levels were associated with incident CKD in the combined analysis of both cohorts.

Conclusions: Lower uEGF levels are associated with increased risk of rapid GFR loss and incident CKD in the general population. This finding, together with previous findings in CKD and high-risk populations, supports that uEGF may serve as a broadly applicable biomarker representing the tubular component of the current glomerulus-centric clinical risk assessment system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfaa208DOI Listing
October 2020

SARS-CoV-2 receptor networks in diabetic and COVID-19-associated kidney disease.

Kidney Int 2020 12 8;98(6):1502-1518. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Electronic address:

COVID-19 morbidity and mortality are increased via unknown mechanisms in patients with diabetes and kidney disease. SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for entry into host cells. Because ACE2 is a susceptibility factor for infection, we investigated how diabetic kidney disease and medications alter ACE2 receptor expression in kidneys. Single cell RNA profiling of kidney biopsies from healthy living donors and patients with diabetic kidney disease revealed ACE2 expression primarily in proximal tubular epithelial cells. This cell-specific localization was confirmed by in situ hybridization. ACE2 expression levels were unaltered by exposures to renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors in diabetic kidney disease. Bayesian integrative analysis of a large compendium of public -omics datasets identified molecular network modules induced in ACE2-expressing proximal tubular epithelial cells in diabetic kidney disease (searchable at hb.flatironinstitute.org/covid-kidney) that were linked to viral entry, immune activation, endomembrane reorganization, and RNA processing. The diabetic kidney disease ACE2-positive proximal tubular epithelial cell module overlapped with expression patterns seen in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. Similar cellular programs were seen in ACE2-positive proximal tubular epithelial cells obtained from urine samples of 13 hospitalized patients with COVID-19, suggesting a consistent ACE2-coregulated proximal tubular epithelial cell expression program that may interact with the SARS-CoV-2 infection processes. Thus SARS-CoV-2 receptor networks can seed further research into risk stratification and therapeutic strategies for COVID-19-related kidney damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2020.09.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7543950PMC
December 2020

Transcriptome analysis of primary podocytes reveals novel calcium regulated regulatory networks.

FASEB J 2020 11 15;34(11):14490-14506. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.

Podocytes are pivotal in establishing the selective permeability of the glomerular filtration barrier. Recently, we showed that an increase of the intracellular calcium ion concentration [Ca ] causes a rapid and transient actin reset (CaAR) measurable through live imaging microscopy using lifeact-mCherry as an actin dye in different cell types including the podocyte. This and other studies show the critical role [Ca ] and the actin cytoskeleton play in podocyte homeostasis. To further investigate the role of [Ca ] and the actin cytoskeleton in podocytes, we used a double fluorescent reporter mouse model to establish a primary podocyte culture system. We treated these podocytes temporarily with a Calcium Ionophore and facultatively with Latrunculin A, an inhibitor of actin polymerization. Unbiased genome wide transcriptional analysis identified a transcriptional response in podocytes to elevated [Ca ] levels, affecting mRNA levels of PDGF-BB, RICTOR, and MIR17HG as mediators of Ca -signaling. Comparison of the ex vivo transcriptional response from the primary podocyte culture with glomerular transcripts across a wide spectrum of CKD disease confirmed co-regulation of transcript sets, establishing the disease relevance of the model system. Our findings demonstrate novel [Ca ] regulated gene networks in podocytes deepening our understanding of podocyte biology and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201902493RRDOI Listing
November 2020

Estimated GFR Trajectories in Pediatric and Adult Nephrotic Syndrome: Results From the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE).

Kidney Med 2020 Jul-Aug;2(4):407-417. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Rationale & Objective: Surrogate outcomes for end-stage kidney disease often assume linear changes, which may not reflect true estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) trajectories. This study's objective was to characterize nonlinear eGFR trajectories in nephrotic syndrome.

Study Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting & Participants: Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE) is a multicenter study of adult and pediatric patients with proteinuria enrolled at clinically indicated kidney biopsy or initial presentation of disease (pediatric only).

Predictors: Patient demographic, clinical, and pathology variables at study enrollment and follow-up time.

Outcome: eGFR was calculated using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (patients ≥ 18 years old) or modified Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Study-Schwartz (patients < 18 years) formulas. The probability of nonlinearity (PNL) was calculated for individual eGFR trajectories.

Analytical Approach: Associations between predictors and PNL were assessed using multivariable linear regression.

Results: 453 patients with ≥3 eGFR measurements and 1 or more year of follow-up were included (median follow-up, 3.6 years). Median PNL was 0.052; 56% and 16% had PNL < 10% and >50%, respectively. In both adults and pediatric patients, higher baseline eGFR was associated with higher PNL, whereas longer follow-up time was associated with lower PNL. Higher urine protein-creatinine ratio and steroid use were also associated with higher PNL in adults. Higher percentages of tubular atrophy and foot-process effacement were associated with lower and higher PNLs, respectively, in adults.

Limitations: Relatively short follow-up time, inability to assess acute kidney injury events, and variable eGFR measurement frequency across patients.

Conclusions: Although increasing follow-up time resulted in more linear trajectories, nonlinear eGFR trajectories were common in this cohort. Future studies in nephrotic syndrome should consider novel outcomes that do not rely on linearity assumptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xkme.2020.03.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7406843PMC
June 2020

A role for NPY-NPY2R signaling in albuminuric kidney disease.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 07 19;117(27):15862-15873. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Bristol Renal, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol BS1 3NY, United Kingdom;

Albuminuria is an independent risk factor for the progression to end-stage kidney failure, cardiovascular morbidity, and premature death. As such, discovering signaling pathways that modulate albuminuria is desirable. Here, we studied the transcriptomes of podocytes, key cells in the prevention of albuminuria, under diabetic conditions. We found that was significantly down-regulated in insulin-resistant vs. insulin-sensitive mouse podocytes and in human glomeruli of patients with early and late-stage diabetic nephropathy, as well as other nondiabetic glomerular diseases. This contrasts with the increased plasma and urinary levels of NPY that are observed in such conditions. Studying NPY-knockout mice, we found that NPY deficiency in vivo surprisingly reduced the level of albuminuria and podocyte injury in models of both diabetic and nondiabetic kidney disease. In vitro, podocyte NPY signaling occurred via the NPY2 receptor (NPY2R), stimulating PI3K, MAPK, and NFAT activation. Additional unbiased proteomic analysis revealed that glomerular NPY-NPY2R signaling predicted nephrotoxicity, modulated RNA processing, and inhibited cell migration. Furthermore, pharmacologically inhibiting the NPY2R in vivo significantly reduced albuminuria in adriamycin-treated glomerulosclerotic mice. Our findings suggest a pathogenic role of excessive NPY-NPY2R signaling in the glomerulus and that inhibiting NPY-NPY2R signaling in albuminuric kidney disease has therapeutic potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2004651117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7355002PMC
July 2020

SARS-CoV-2 receptor networks in diabetic kidney disease, BK-Virus nephropathy and COVID-19 associated acute kidney injury.

medRxiv 2020 May 13. Epub 2020 May 13.

COVID-19 morbidity and mortality is significantly increased in patients with diabetes and kidney disease via unknown mechanisms. SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for entry into human host cells, and ACE2 levels in target cells may influence SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility. We investigated how pre-existing conditions and drug treatments alter receptor expression in kidney tissue. Using single cell RNA profiling (scRNAseq) to assess ACE2 and associated SARS-CoV-2 proteases in healthy living donors (LD) kidneys, diabetic kidney disease (DKD), and in kidney injury during viral infection, ACE2 expression was primarily associated with proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTEC). ACE2 mRNA expression levels were significantly upregulated in DKD versus LD, however, ACE2 levels were not altered by exposures to renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors. ACE2+ expression signatures were defined by differential expression analysis and characterized by Bayesian integrative analysis of a large compendium of public -omics datasets, resulting in the identification of network modules induced in ACE2 positive PTEC in DKD and BK virus nephropathy. These ACE2 upregulated cell programs were linked to viral entry, immune activation, endomembrane reorganization, and RNA processing and overlapped significantly with the cellular responses induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Similar cellular programs were activated in ACE2-positive PTEC isolated in a urine sample from a COVID19 patient with acute kidney injury, suggesting a consistent ACE2-coregulated expression program that may interact with SARS-Cov-2 infection processes. The SARS-CoV-2 receptor associated gene signatures could seed further research into therapeutic strategies for COVID-19. Functional networks of gene expression signatures are available for further exploration to researchers at HumanBase (hb.flatironinstitute.org/covid-kidney).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.09.20096511DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7241118PMC
May 2020

A metabolomics-based molecular pathway analysis of how the sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor dapagliflozin may slow kidney function decline in patients with diabetes.

Diabetes Obes Metab 2020 07 25;22(7):1157-1166. Epub 2020 Mar 25.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Aim: To investigate which metabolic pathways are targeted by the sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor dapagliflozin to explore the molecular processes involved in its renal protective effects.

Methods: An unbiased mass spectrometry plasma metabolomics assay was performed on baseline and follow-up (week 12) samples from the EFFECT II trial in patients with type 2 diabetes with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease receiving dapagliflozin 10 mg/day (n = 19) or placebo (n = 6). Transcriptomic signatures from tubular compartments were identified from kidney biopsies collected from patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD) (n = 17) and healthy controls (n = 30) from the European Renal cDNA Biobank. Serum metabolites that significantly changed after 12 weeks of dapagliflozin were mapped to a metabolite-protein interaction network. These proteins were then linked with intra-renal transcripts that were associated with DKD or estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The impacted metabolites and their protein-coding transcripts were analysed for enriched pathways.

Results: Of all measured (n = 812) metabolites, 108 changed (P < 0.05) during dapagliflozin treatment and 74 could be linked to 367 unique proteins/genes. Intra-renal mRNA expression analysis of the genes encoding the metabolite-associated proteins using kidney biopsies resulted in 105 genes that were significantly associated with eGFR in patients with DKD, and 135 genes that were differentially expressed between patients with DKD and controls. The combination of metabolites and transcripts identified four enriched pathways that were affected by dapagliflozin and associated with eGFR: glycine degradation (mitochondrial function), TCA cycle II (energy metabolism), L-carnitine biosynthesis (energy metabolism) and superpathway of citrulline metabolism (nitric oxide synthase and endothelial function).

Conclusion: The observed molecular pathways targeted by dapagliflozin and associated with DKD suggest that modifying molecular processes related to energy metabolism, mitochondrial function and endothelial function may contribute to its renal protective effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dom.14018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7317707PMC
July 2020

Single cell transcriptomics identifies focal segmental glomerulosclerosis remission endothelial biomarker.

JCI Insight 2020 03 26;5(6). Epub 2020 Mar 26.

The KPMP and the NEPTUNE are detailed in Supplemental Acknowledgments.

To define cellular mechanisms underlying kidney function and failure, the KPMP analyzes biopsy tissue in a multicenter research network to build cell-level process maps of the kidney. This study aimed to establish a single cell RNA sequencing strategy to use cell-level transcriptional profiles from kidney biopsies in KPMP to define molecular subtypes in glomerular diseases. Using multiple sources of adult human kidney reference tissue samples, 22,268 single cell profiles passed KPMP quality control parameters. Unbiased clustering resulted in 31 distinct cell clusters that were linked to kidney and immune cell types using specific cell markers. Focusing on endothelial cell phenotypes, in silico and in situ hybridization methods assigned 3 discrete endothelial cell clusters to distinct renal vascular beds. Transcripts defining glomerular endothelial cells (GEC) were evaluated in biopsies from patients with 10 different glomerular diseases in the NEPTUNE and European Renal cDNA Bank (ERCB) cohort studies. Highest GEC scores were observed in patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Molecular endothelial signatures suggested 2 distinct FSGS patient subgroups with α-2 macroglobulin (A2M) as a key downstream mediator of the endothelial cell phenotype. Finally, glomerular A2M transcript levels associated with lower proteinuria remission rates, linking endothelial function with long-term outcome in FSGS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.133267DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7213795PMC
March 2020

Identification of glomerular and podocyte-specific genes and pathways activated by sera of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.

PLoS One 2019 3;14(10):e0222948. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, United States of America.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) accounts for about 40% of all nephrotic syndrome cases in adults. The presence of several potential circulating factors has been suggested in patients with primary FSGS and particularly in patients with recurrent disease after transplant. Irrespectively of the nature of the circulating factors, this study was aimed at identifying early glomerular/podocyte-specific pathways that are activated by the sera of patients affected by FSGS. Kidney biopsies were obtained from patients undergoing kidney transplantation due to primary FSGS. Donor kidneys were biopsied pre-reperfusion (PreR) and a subset 1-2 hours after reperfusion of the kidney (PostR). Thirty-one post reperfusion (PostR) and 36 PreR biopsy samples were analyzed by microarray and gene enrichment KEGG pathway analysis. Data were compared to those obtained from patients with incident primary FSGS enrolled in other cohorts as well as with another cohort to correct for pathways activated by ischemia reperfusion. Using an ex-vivo cell-based assay in which human podocytes were cultured in the presence of sera from patients with recurrent and non recurrent FSGS, the molecular signature of podocytes exposed to sera from patients with REC was compared to the one established from patients with NON REC. We demonstrate that inflammatory pathways, including the TNF pathway, are primarily activated immediately after exposure to the sera of patients with primary FSGS, while phagocytotic pathways are activated when proteinuria becomes clinically evident. The TNF pathway activation by one or more circulating factors present in the sera of patients with FSGS supports prior experimental findings from our group demonstrating a causative role of local TNF in podocyte injury in FSGS. Correlation analysis with clinical and histological parameters of disease was performed and further supported a possible role for TNF pathway activation in FSGS. Additionally, we identified a unique set of genes that is specifically activated in podocytes when cultured in the presence of serum of patients with REC FSGS. This clinical translational study supports our prior experimental findings describing a potential role of the TNF pathway in the pathogenesis of FSGS. Validation of these findings in larger cohorts may lay the ground for the implementation of integrated system biology approaches to risk stratify patients affected by FSGS and to identify novel pathways relevant to podocyte injury.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222948PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776339PMC
March 2020

Increased lipogenesis and impaired β-oxidation predict type 2 diabetic kidney disease progression in American Indians.

JCI Insight 2019 11 1;4(21). Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

BACKGROUNDIn this study, we identified the lipidomic predictors of early type 2 diabetic kidney disease (DKD) progression, which are currently undefined.METHODSThis longitudinal study included 92 American Indians with type 2 diabetes. Serum lipids (406 from 18 classes) were quantified using mass spectrometry from baseline samples when iothalamate-based glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was at least 90 mL/min. Affymetrix GeneChip Array was used to measure renal transcript expression. DKD progression was defined as at least 40% decline in GFR during follow-up.RESULTSParticipants had a mean age of 45 ± 9 years and median urine albumin/creatinine ratio of 43 (interquartile range 11-144). The 32 progressors had significantly higher relative abundance of polyunsaturated triacylglycerols (TAGs) and a lower abundance of C16-C20 acylcarnitines (ACs) (P < 0.001). In a Cox regression model, the main effect terms of unsaturated free fatty acids and phosphatidylethanolamines and the interaction terms of C16-C20 ACs and short-low-double-bond TAGs by categories of albuminuria independently predicted DKD progression. Renal expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase-encoding gene (ACACA) correlated with serum diacylglycerols in the glomerular compartment (r = 0.36, and P = 0.006) and with low-double-bond TAGs in the tubulointerstitial compartment (r = 0.52, and P < 0.001).CONCLUSIONCollectively, the findings reveal a previously unrecognized link between lipid markers of impaired mitochondrial β-oxidation and enhanced lipogenesis and DKD progression in individuals with preserved GFR. Renal acetyl-CoA carboxylase activation accompanies these lipidomic changes and suggests that it may be the underlying mechanism linking lipid abnormalities to DKD progression.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00340678.FUNDINGNIH R24DK082841, K08DK106523, R03DK121941, P30DK089503, P30DK081943, and P30DK020572.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.130317DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6948762PMC
November 2019

Genome-Wide Association Study of Diabetic Kidney Disease Highlights Biology Involved in Glomerular Basement Membrane Collagen.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2019 10 19;30(10):2000-2016. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Programs in Metabolism and Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts;

Background: Although diabetic kidney disease demonstrates both familial clustering and single nucleotide polymorphism heritability, the specific genetic factors influencing risk remain largely unknown.

Methods: To identify genetic variants predisposing to diabetic kidney disease, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) analyses. Through collaboration with the Diabetes Nephropathy Collaborative Research Initiative, we assembled a large collection of type 1 diabetes cohorts with harmonized diabetic kidney disease phenotypes. We used a spectrum of ten diabetic kidney disease definitions based on albuminuria and renal function.

Results: Our GWAS meta-analysis included association results for up to 19,406 individuals of European descent with type 1 diabetes. We identified 16 genome-wide significant risk loci. The variant with the strongest association (rs55703767) is a common missense mutation in the collagen type IV alpha 3 chain ( gene, which encodes a major structural component of the glomerular basement membrane (GBM). Mutations in are implicated in heritable nephropathies, including the progressive inherited nephropathy Alport syndrome. The rs55703767 minor allele (Asp326Tyr) is protective against several definitions of diabetic kidney disease, including albuminuria and ESKD, and demonstrated a significant association with GBM width; protective allele carriers had thinner GBM before any signs of kidney disease, and its effect was dependent on glycemia. Three other loci are in or near genes with known or suggestive involvement in this condition ( or renal biology ( and ).

Conclusions: The 16 diabetic kidney disease-associated loci may provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of this condition and help identify potential biologic targets for prevention and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2019030218DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779358PMC
October 2019

Methods for Assessing Longitudinal Biomarkers of Time-to-Event Outcomes in CKD: A Simulation Study.

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2019 09 15;14(9):1315-1323. Epub 2019 Aug 15.

Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and

Background And Objectives: Identifying novel biomarkers is critical to advancing diagnosis and treatment of CKD, but relies heavily on the statistical methods used. Inappropriate methods can lead to both false positive and false negative associations between biomarkers and outcomes. This study assessed accuracy of methods using computer simulations and compared biomarker association estimates in the NEPhrotic syndrome sTUdy NEtwork (NEPTUNE), a prospective cohort study of patients with glomerular disease.

Design, Setting, Participants, & Measurements: We compared three methods for analyzing repeatedly measured biomarkers in proportional hazards models: () time-invariant average, that averages values over all follow-up and uses the average as a baseline covariate, () time-varying last observation carried forward (LOCF), that assumes the covariate is unchanged until the next observed value, and () time-varying cumulative average, that updates the average using values at or before each measurement.

Results: Under both true mechanisms of LOCF and cumulative average, simulation results showed the time-invariant average method often gave extremely inaccurate results. When LOCF was the true association mechanism, the cumulative average method often gave overestimated association estimates that were further away from the null. When cumulative average was the true mechanism, LOCF always underestimated the associations, , closer to the null. In NEPTUNE, compared with the LOCF or cumulative average methods, hazard ratios estimated from the time-invariant average method were always higher.

Conclusions: Different analytic methods resulted in markedly different results. Using the time-invariant average produces inaccurate association estimates, whereas other methods can estimate additive (cumulative average) or instantaneous (LOCF) associations depending on the hypothesized underlying association mechanism and research question.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2215/CJN.00450119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6730514PMC
September 2019

ATP-binding cassette A1 deficiency causes cardiolipin-driven mitochondrial dysfunction in podocytes.

J Clin Invest 2019 07 22;129(8):3387-3400. Epub 2019 Jul 22.

Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension/ Drug Discovery Center, Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA.

Fibroblasts from patients with Tangier disease carrying ATP-binding cassette A1 (ABCA1) loss-of-function mutations are characterized by cardiolipin accumulation, a mitochondrial-specific phospholipid. Suppression of ABCA1 expression occurs in glomeruli from patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and in human podocytes exposed to DKD sera collected prior to the development of DKD. We demonstrated that siRNA ABCA1 knockdown in podocytes led to reduced oxygen consumption capabilities associated with alterations in the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes and with cardiolipin accumulation. Podocyte-specific deletion of Abca1 (Abca1fl/fl) rendered mice susceptible to DKD, and pharmacological induction of ABCA1 improved established DKD. This was not mediated by free cholesterol, as genetic deletion of sterol-o-acyltransferase-1 (SOAT1) in Abca1fl/fl mice was sufficient to cause free cholesterol accumulation but did not cause glomerular injury. Instead, cardiolipin mediates ABCA1-dependent susceptibility to podocyte injury, as inhibition of cardiolipin peroxidation with elamipretide improved DKD in vivo and prevented ABCA1-dependent podocyte injury in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, we describe a pathway definitively linking ABCA1 deficiency to cardiolipin-driven mitochondrial dysfunction. We demonstrated that this pathway is relevant to DKD and that ABCA1 inducers or inhibitors of cardiolipin peroxidation may each represent therapeutic strategies for the treatment of established DKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI125316DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6668702PMC
July 2019

Changes in Albuminuria But Not GFR are Associated with Early Changes in Kidney Structure in Type 2 Diabetes.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2019 06;30(6):1049-1059

Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Background: In type 1 diabetes, changes in the GFR and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) are related to changes in kidney structure that reflect disease progression. However, such changes have not been studied in type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Participants were American Indians with type 2 diabetes enrolled in a clinical trial of losartan versus placebo. We followed a subset who underwent kidney biopsy at the end of the 6-year trial, with annual measurements of GFR (by urinary clearance of iothalamate) and ACR. Participants had a second kidney biopsy after a mean follow-up of 9.3 years. We used quantitative morphometric analyses to evaluate both biopsy specimens.

Results: Baseline measures for 48 participants (12 men and 36 women, mean age 45.6 years) who completed the study included diabetes duration (14.6 years), GFR (156 ml/min), and ACR (15 mg/g). During follow-up, glomerular basement membrane (GBM) width, mesangial fractional volume, and ACR increased, and surface density of peripheral GBM and GFR decreased. After adjustment for sex, age, ACR, and each morphometric variable at baseline, an increase in ACR during follow-up was significantly associated with increases in GBM width, mesangial fractional volume, and mean glomerular volume, and a decrease in surface density of peripheral GBM. Decline in GFR was not associated with changes in these morphometric variables after additionally adjusting for baseline GFR.

Conclusions: In American Indians with type 2 diabetes and preserved GFR at baseline, increasing ACR reflects the progression of earlier structural glomerular lesions, whereas early GFR decline may not accurately reflect such lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2018111166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6551789PMC
June 2019

A signature of circulating inflammatory proteins and development of end-stage renal disease in diabetes.

Nat Med 2019 05 22;25(5):805-813. Epub 2019 Apr 22.

Research Division, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA, USA.

Chronic inflammation is postulated to be involved in the development of end-stage renal disease in diabetes, but which specific circulating inflammatory proteins contribute to this risk remain unknown. To study this, we examined 194 circulating inflammatory proteins in subjects from three independent cohorts with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In each cohort, we identified an extremely robust kidney risk inflammatory signature (KRIS), consisting of 17 proteins enriched in tumor necrosis factor-receptor superfamily members, that was associated with a 10-year risk of end-stage renal disease. All these proteins had a systemic, non-kidney source. Our prospective study findings provide strong evidence that KRIS proteins contribute to the inflammatory process underlying end-stage renal disease development in both types of diabetes. These proteins point to new therapeutic targets and new prognostic tests to identify subjects at risk of end-stage renal disease, as well as biomarkers to measure responses to treatment of diabetic kidney disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0415-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6508971PMC
May 2019

Low levels of urinary epidermal growth factor predict chronic kidney disease progression in children.

Kidney Int 2019 07 20;96(1):214-221. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Urinary epidermal growth factor (uEGF) has recently been identified as a promising biomarker of chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression in adults with glomerular disease. Low levels of uEGF predict CKD progression and appear to reflect the extent of tubulointerstitial damage. We investigated the relevance of uEGF in pediatric CKD. We performed a post hoc analysis of the Cardiovascular Comorbidity in Children with CKD (4C) study, which prospectively follows children aged 6-17 years with baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 10-60 ml/min/1.73 m. uEGF levels were measured in archived urine collected within 6 months of enrollment. Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract were the most common cause of CKD, with glomerular diseases accounting for <10% of cases. Median eGFR at baseline was 28 ml/min/1.73 m, and 288 of 623 participants (46.3%) reached the composite endpoint of CKD progression (50% eGFR loss, eGFR < 10 ml/min/1.73 m, or initiation of renal replacement therapy). In a Cox proportional hazards model, higher uEGF/Cr was associated with a decreased risk of CKD progression (HR 0.76; 95% CI 0.69-0.84) independent of age, sex, baseline eGFR, primary kidney disease, proteinuria, and systolic blood pressure. The addition of uEGF/Cr to a model containing these variables resulted in a significant improvement in C-statistics, indicating better prediction of the 1-, 2- and 3-year risk of CKD progression. External validation in a prospective cohort of 222 children with CKD demonstrated comparable results. Thus, uEGF may be a useful biomarker to predict CKD progression in children with CKD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2019.01.035DOI Listing
July 2019

Serum amyloid A and Janus kinase 2 in a mouse model of diabetic kidney disease.

PLoS One 2019 14;14(2):e0211555. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Providence Medical Research Center, Providence Health Care, Spokane, Washington, United States of America.

Background: Serum amyloid A (SAA), a potent inflammatory mediator, and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), an intracellular signaling kinase, are increased by diabetes. The aims were to elucidate: 1) a JAK2-mediated pathway for increased SAA in the kidneys of diabetic mice; 2) a JAK2-SAA pathway for inflammation in podocytes.

Methods: Akita diabetic mice (129S6) with podocyte JAK2 overexpression and angiotensin II infusion (4 weeks) were given a JAK1,2 inhibitor (LY03103801, 3 mg/kg/day orally for the last two weeks). Kidneys were immunostained for SAA isoform 3 (SAA3). SAA3 knockout and control mouse podocytes were exposed to advanced glycation end products (AGE) or exogenous SAA with JAK2 inhibition (Tyrphostin AG 490, 50μM). JAK2 activity (phosphorylation, Western blot, 1 hour) and mRNA for SAA3 and associated inflammatory genes (Cxcl5, Ccl2, and Ccl5) were measured by RT-PCR (20 hours).

Results: SAA3 protein was present throughout the diabetic kidney, and podocyte JAK2 overexpression increased tubulointerstitial SAA3 compared to wild type diabetic controls, 43% versus 14% (p = 0.007); JAK1,2 inhibition attenuated the increase in SAA3 to 15% (p = 0.003). Urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (r = 0.49, p = 0.03), mesangial index (r = 0.64, p = 0.001), and glomerulosclerosis score (r = 0.51, p = 0.02) were associated with SAA3 immunostaining scores across mouse groups. Exposing podocytes to AGE or exogenous SAA increased JAK2 activity within one hour and mRNA for associated inflammatory genes after 20 hours. JAK2 inhibition reduced SAA3 mRNA expression in podocytes exposed to AGE or SAA. SAA3 knockout podocytes had >85% lower AGE-induced inflammatory genes.

Conclusion: JAK1,2 inhibition reduced SAA and histological features of DKD in podocyte JAK2-overexpressing mice. In podocytes exposed to a diabetes-like condition, JAK2 inhibition reduced expression of SAA, while SAA knockout blocked expression of associated pro-inflammatory mediators. SAA may promote JAK2-dependent inflammation in the diabetic kidney.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0211555PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375550PMC
December 2019

Correlation Between Baseline GFR and Subsequent Change in GFR in Norwegian Adults Without Diabetes and in Pima Indians.

Am J Kidney Dis 2019 06 28;73(6):777-785. Epub 2019 Jan 28.

Metabolic and Renal Research Group, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; Section of Nephrology, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

Rationale & Objective: An elevated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), or renal hyperfiltration, may predispose individuals to subsequent rapid GFR decline in diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Although this hypothesis is supported by results of experimental studies, the importance of hyperfiltration at the population level remains controversial. We investigated whether higher baseline GFR predicts a steeper decline in GFR.

Study Design: Longitudinal cohort studies.

Setting & Participants: 1,594 middle-aged Norwegians without diabetes (the Renal Iohexol Clearance Survey [RENIS]) and 319 Pima Indians (83% with type 2 diabetes).

Predictor: Baseline measured GFR using exogenous clearance methods.

Outcomes: Change in measured GFR over time.

Analytical Approach: Linear mixed regression models fit to assess the correlation between the random intercept (reflecting baseline GFR) and random slope (change in GFR over time).

Results: Mean baseline GFRs were 104.0 ± 20.1 (SD) and 149.4 ± 43.3 mL/min, and median follow-up durations were 5.6 (IQR, 5.2-6.0) and 9.1 (IQR, 4.0-15.0) years in the RENIS and Pima cohorts, respectively. Correlation between baseline GFR (random intercept) and slope of GFR decline was -0.31 (95% CI, -0.40 to -0.23) in the RENIS cohort and -0.41 (95% CI, -0.55 to -0.26) in the Pima cohort, adjusted for age, sex, height, and weight, suggesting that higher baseline GFRs were associated with steeper GFR decline rates.

Limitations: Different methods for measuring GFR in the 2 cohorts. Renal hyperfiltration may not reflect higher single-nephron GFR. GFR decline is assumed to be linear, which may not match the actual pattern; observed correlations may arise from natural variation.

Conclusions: Higher baseline GFR is associated with faster decline in GFR over time. If this relationship were causal, elevated GFR would represent a potentially modifiable risk factor for medium- to long-term GFR decline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.ajkd.2018.11.011DOI Listing
June 2019

Organoid single cell profiling identifies a transcriptional signature of glomerular disease.

JCI Insight 2019 01 10;4(1). Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, and.

Podocyte injury is central to many forms of kidney disease, but transcriptional signatures reflecting podocyte injury and compensation mechanisms are challenging to analyze in vivo. Human kidney organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), a potentially new model for disease and regeneration, present an opportunity to explore the transcriptional plasticity of podocytes. Here, transcriptional profiling of more than 12,000 single cells from human PSC-derived kidney organoid cultures was used to identify robust and reproducible cell lineage gene expression signatures shared with developing human kidneys based on trajectory analysis. Surprisingly, the gene expression signature characteristic of developing glomerular epithelial cells was also observed in glomerular tissue from a kidney disease cohort. This signature correlated with proteinuria and inverse eGFR, and it was confirmed in an independent podocytopathy cohort. Three genes in particular were further characterized as potentially novel components of the glomerular disease signature. We conclude that cells in human PSC-derived kidney organoids reliably recapitulate the developmental transcriptional program of podocytes and other cell lineages in the human kidney and that transcriptional profiles seen in developing podocytes are reactivated in glomerular disease. Our findings demonstrate an approach to identifying potentially novel molecular programs involved in the pathogenesis of glomerulopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.122697DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485369PMC
January 2019

Decoding the genetic determinants of gene regulation in the kidney.

Kidney Int 2019 01;95(1):16-18

Division of Nephrology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2018.11.013DOI Listing
January 2019

Tyro3 is a podocyte protective factor in glomerular disease.

JCI Insight 2018 11 15;3(22). Epub 2018 Nov 15.

Department of Medicine/Nephrology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.

Our previous work demonstrated a protective role of protein S in early diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Protein S exerts antiinflammatory and antiapoptotic effects through the activation of TYRO3, AXL, and MER (TAM) receptors. Among the 3 TAM receptors, we showed that the biological effects of protein S were mediated largely by TYRO3 in diabetic kidneys. Our data now show that TYRO3 mRNA expression is highly enriched in human glomeruli and that TYRO3 protein is expressed in podocytes. Interestingly, glomerular TYRO3 mRNA expression increased in mild DKD but was suppressed in progressive DKD, as well as in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Functionally, morpholino-mediated knockdown of tyro3 altered glomerular filtration barrier development in zebrafish larvae, and genetic ablation of Tyro3 in murine models of DKD and Adriamycin-induced nephropathy (ADRN) worsened albuminuria and glomerular injury. Conversely, the induction of TYRO3 overexpression specifically in podocytes significantly attenuated albuminuria and kidney injury in mice with DKD, ADRN, and HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN). Mechanistically, TYRO3 expression was suppressed by activation of TNF-α/NF-κB pathway, which may contribute to decreased TYRO3 expression in progressive DKD and FSGS, and TYRO3 signaling conferred antiapoptotic effects through the activation of AKT in podocytes. In conclusion, TYRO3 plays a critical role in maintaining normal podocyte function and may be a potential new drug target to treat glomerular diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.123482DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302948PMC
November 2018

An eQTL Landscape of Kidney Tissue in Human Nephrotic Syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 08 26;103(2):232-244. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Department of Pediatrics-Nephrology, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address:

Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) studies illuminate the genetics of gene expression and, in disease research, can be particularly illuminating when using the tissues directly impacted by the condition. In nephrology, there is a paucity of eQTL studies of human kidney. Here, we used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and microdissected glomerular (GLOM) and tubulointerstitial (TI) transcriptomes from 187 individuals with nephrotic syndrome (NS) to describe the eQTL landscape in these functionally distinct kidney structures. Using MatrixEQTL, we performed cis-eQTL analysis on GLOM (n = 136) and TI (n = 166). We used the Bayesian "Deterministic Approximation of Posteriors" (DAP) to fine-map these signals, eQTLBMA to discover GLOM- or TI-specific eQTLs, and single-cell RNA-seq data of control kidney tissue to identify the cell type specificity of significant eQTLs. We integrated eQTL data with an IgA Nephropathy (IgAN) GWAS to perform a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS). We discovered 894 GLOM eQTLs and 1,767 TI eQTLs at FDR < 0.05. 14% and 19% of GLOM and TI eQTLs, respectively, had >1 independent signal associated with its expression. 12% and 26% of eQTLs were GLOM specific and TI specific, respectively. GLOM eQTLs were most significantly enriched in podocyte transcripts and TI eQTLs in proximal tubules. The IgAN TWAS identified significant GLOM and TI genes, primarily at the HLA region. In this study, we discovered GLOM and TI eQTLs, identified those that were tissue specific, deconvoluted them into cell-specific signals, and used them to characterize known GWAS alleles. These data are available for browsing and download via our eQTL browser, "nephQTL."
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.07.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081280PMC
August 2018

Urinary epidermal growth factor as a prognostic marker for the progression of Alport syndrome in children.

Pediatr Nephrol 2018 10 11;33(10):1731-1739. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

Department of Pediatrics, Peking University First Hospital, No.1 Xi An Men Da Jie, Beijing, 100034, People's Republic of China.

Background: Alport syndrome is a rare hereditary kidney disease manifested with progressive renal failure. Considerable variation exists in terms of disease progression among patients with Alport syndrome. Identification of patients at high risk of rapid progression remains an unmet need. Urinary epidermal growth factor (uEGF) has been shown to be independently associated with risk of progression to adverse kidney outcome in multiple independent adult chronic kidney disease (CKD) cohorts. In this study, we aim to assess if uEGF is associated with kidney impairment and its prognostic value for children with Alport syndrome.

Methods: One hundred and seventeen pediatric patients with Alport syndrome and 146 healthy children (3-18 years old) were included in this study. uEGF was measured in duplicates in baseline urine samples using ELISA (R&D) and concentration was normalized by urine creatinine (uEGF/Cr). In patients with longitudinal follow-up data (n = 38), progression was defined as deteriorated kidney function (CKD stage increase) during follow-up period (follow-up length is about 31 months in average). The association of baseline uEGF/Cr level with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) slope and Alport syndrome patients' progression to a more advanced CKD stage during the follow-up period was used to evaluate the prognostic value of the marker.

Results: We found that uEGF/creatinine (uEGF/Cr) decreases with age in pediatric patients with Alport syndrome with a significantly faster rate than in healthy children of the same age group. uEGF/Cr is significantly correlated with eGFR (r = 0.75, p < 0.001), after adjustment for age. In 38 patients with longitudinal follow-up, we observed a significant correlation between uEGF/Cr and eGFR slope (r = 0.58, p < 0.001). Patients with lower uEGF/Cr level were at increased risk of progression to a higher CKD stage. uEGF/Cr was able to distinguish progressors from non-progressors with an AUC of 0.88, versus 0.77 by eGFR and 0.81 by 24-h urinary protein (24-h UP).

Conclusions: Our study suggests that uEGF/Cr is a promising biomarker for accelerated kidney function decline in pediatric patients with Alport syndrome. It may help to identify patients at high risk of progression for targeted clinical care and improve the patients' stratification in interventional trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00467-018-3988-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132884PMC
October 2018

Shared and distinct lipid-lipid interactions in plasma and affected tissues in a diabetic mouse model.

J Lipid Res 2018 02 13;59(2):173-183. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Division of Nephrology, Departments of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Lipids are ubiquitous metabolites with diverse functions; abnormalities in lipid metabolism appear to be related to complications from multiple diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Through technological advances, the entire lipidome has been characterized and researchers now need computational approaches to better understand lipid network perturbations in different diseases. Using a mouse model of type 2 diabetes with microvascular complications, we examined lipid levels in plasma and in renal, neural, and retinal tissues to identify shared and distinct lipid abnormalities. We used correlation analysis to construct interaction networks in each tissue, to associate changes in lipids with changes in enzymes of lipid metabolism, and to identify overlap of coregulated lipid subclasses between plasma and each tissue to define subclasses of plasma lipids to use as surrogates of tissue lipid metabolism. Lipid metabolism alterations were mostly tissue specific in the kidney, nerve, and retina; no lipid changes correlated between the plasma and all three tissue types. However, alterations in diacylglycerol and in lipids containing arachidonic acid, an inflammatory mediator, were shared among the tissue types, and the highly saturated cholesterol esters were similarly coregulated between plasma and each tissue type in the diabetic mouse. Our results identified several patterns of altered lipid metabolism that may help to identify pathogenic alterations in different tissues and could be used as biomarkers in future research into diabetic microvascular tissue damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1194/jlr.M077222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794414PMC
February 2018

ORAI channels are critical for receptor-mediated endocytosis of albumin.

Nat Commun 2017 12 4;8(1):1920. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK.

Impaired albumin reabsorption by proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTECs) has been highlighted in diabetic nephropathy (DN), but little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. Here we find that ORAI1-3, are preferentially expressed in PTECs and downregulated in patients with DN. Hyperglycemia or blockade of insulin signaling reduces the expression of ORAI1-3. Inhibition of ORAI channels by BTP2 and diethylstilbestrol or silencing of ORAI expression impairs albumin uptake. Transgenic mice expressing a dominant-negative Orai1 mutant (E108Q) increases albuminuria, and in vivo injection of BTP2 exacerbates albuminuria in streptozotocin-induced and Akita diabetic mice. The albumin endocytosis is Ca-dependent and accompanied by ORAI1 internalization. Amnionless (AMN) associates with ORAIs and forms STIM/ORAI/AMN complexes after Ca store depletion. STIM1/ORAI1 colocalizes with clathrin, but not with caveolin, at the apical membrane of PTECs, which determines clathrin-mediated endocytosis. These findings provide insights into the mechanisms of protein reabsorption and potential targets for treating diabetic proteinuria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02094-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5714946PMC
December 2017

A molecular morphometric approach to diabetic kidney disease can link structure to function and outcome.

Kidney Int 2018 02 18;93(2):439-449. Epub 2017 Oct 18.

Division of Nephrology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Electronic address:

Diabetic kidney disease is the leading cause of kidney failure. However, studies of molecular mechanisms of early kidney damage are lacking. Here we examined for possible linkage between transcriptional regulation and quantitative structural damage in early diabetic kidney disease in Pima Indians with type 2 diabetes. Tissue obtained from protocol kidney biopsies underwent genome-wide compartment-specific gene expression profiling and quantitative morphometric analysis. The ultrastructural lesion most strongly associated with transcriptional regulation was cortical interstitial fractional volume (VvInt), an index of tubule-interstitial damage. Transcriptional co-expression network analysis identified 1843 transcripts that correlated significantly with VvInt. These transcripts were enriched for pathways associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, migratory mechanisms, and tubular metabolic functions. Pathway network analysis identified IL-1β as a key upstream regulator of the inflammatory response and five transcription factors cooperating with p53 to regulate metabolic functions. VvInt-associated transcripts showed significant correlation with the urine albumin to creatinine ratio and measured glomerular filtration rate 10 years after biopsy, establishing a link between the early molecular events and long-term disease progression. Thus, molecular mechanisms active early in diabetic kidney disease were revealed by correlating intrarenal transcripts with quantitative morphometry and long-term outcomes. This provides a starting point for identification of urgently needed therapeutic targets and non-invasive biomarkers of early diabetic kidney disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2017.08.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794609PMC
February 2018

FSGS as an Adaptive Response to Growth-Induced Podocyte Stress.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2017 Oct 18;28(10):2931-2945. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Departments of Internal Medicine,

Glomerular sclerotic lesions develop when the glomerular filtration surface area exceeds the availability of podocyte foot process coverage, but the mechanisms involved are incompletely characterized. We evaluated potential mechanisms using a transgenic (podocin promoter-AA-4E-BP1) rat in which podocyte capacity for hypertrophy in response to growth factor/nutrient signaling is impaired. FSGS lesions resembling human FSGS developed spontaneously by 7 months of age, and could be induced earlier by accelerating kidney hypertrophy by nephrectomy. Early segmental glomerular lesions occurred in the absence of a detectable reduction in average podocyte number per glomerulus and resulted from the loss of podocytes in individual glomerular capillary loops. Parietal epithelial cell division, accumulation on Bowman's capsule, and tuft invasion occurred at these sites. Three different interventions that prevented kidney growth and glomerular enlargement (calorie intake reduction, inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin complex, and inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme) protected against FSGS lesion development, even when initiated late in the process. Ki67 nuclear staining and unbiased transcriptomic analysis identified increased glomerular (but not podocyte) cell cycling as necessary for FSGS lesion development. The rat FSGS-associated transcriptomic signature correlated with human glomerular transcriptomes associated with disease progression, compatible with similar processes occurring in man. We conclude that FSGS lesion development resulted from glomerular growth that exceeded the capacity of podocytes to adapt and adequately cover some parts of the filtration surface. Modest modulation of the growth side of this equation significantly ameliorated FSGS progression, suggesting that glomerular growth is an underappreciated therapeutic target for preservation of renal function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2017020174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5619973PMC
October 2017