Renal Physiology

Omi/HtrA2 protease is associated with tubular cell apoptosis and fibrosis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction

Jinu Kim, Dong Sun Kim, Mae Ja Park, Hee-Jung Cho, Antonis S. Zervos, Joseph V. Bonventre, Kwon Moo Park


Kidney fibrosis, a typical characteristic of chronic renal disease, is associated with tubular epithelial cell apoptosis. The results of our recent studies have shown that Omi/HtrA2 (Omi), a proapoptotic mitochondrial serine protease, performs a crucial function in renal tubular epithelial apoptotic cell death in animal models of acute kidney injury, including cisplatin toxicity and ischemia-reperfusion insult. However, the role of Omi in tubulointerstitial disease-associated fibrosis in the kidney remains to be clearly defined. We evaluated the potential function and molecular mechanism of Omi in ureteral obstruction-induced kidney epithelial cell apoptosis and fibrosis. The mice were subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) via the ligation of the left ureter near the renal pelvis. UUO increased the protein level of Omi in the cytosolic fraction of the kidney, with a concomitant reduction in the mitochondrial fraction. UUO reduced the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a substrate of Omi, and pro-caspase-3, whereas it increased cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (cleaved PARP) and the number of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells. When mice were treated with ucf-101, an inhibitor of the proteolytic activity of Omi (6.19 μg/day ip), on a daily basis beginning 2 days before UUO and continuing until the end of the experiment, the Omi inhibitor protected XIAP cleavage after UUO and reduced the increment of PARP cleavage and the numbers of TUNEL-positive cells. Furthermore, the Omi inhibitor significantly attenuated UUO-induced increases in fibrotic characteristics in the kidney, including the atrophy and dilation of tubules, expansion of the interstitium, and increases in the expression of collagens, α-smooth muscle actin, and fibronectin. In conclusion, Omi/HtrA2 is associated with apoptotic signaling pathways in tubular epithelial cells activated by unilateral ureteral obstruction, thereby resulting in kidney fibrosis.

  • XIAP
  • kidney fibrosis
  • ucf-101
  • α-SMA
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