α1-Microglobulin (A1M) is a low-molecular-weight heme-binding antioxidant protein that is readily filtered by the glomerulus and reabsorbed by proximal tubules. Given these properties, recombinant A1M (rA1M) has been proposed as a renal antioxidant and therapeutic agent. However, little direct evidence to support this hypothesis exists. Hence, we have sought “proof of concept” in this regard. Cultured proximal tubule (HK-2) cells or isolated mouse proximal tubule segments were challenged with a variety of prooxidant insults: 1) hemin, 2) myoglobin; 3) “catalytic” iron, 4) H2O2/Fenton reagents, 5) a Ca2+ ionophore, 6) antimycin A, or 7) hypoxia (with or without rA1M treatment). HK-2 injury was gauged by the percent lactate dehydrogenase release and 4,5-(dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide uptake. In vivo protection was sought in rA1M-treated mice subjected to 1) graded myohemoglobinura (2, 4, 8, or 9 ml/kg glycerol injection), 2) purified myoglobinemia/uria, or 3) endotoxemia. In vivo injury was assessed by blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and the expression of redox-sensitive genes (heme oxygenase-1, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 mRNAs). Although rA1M totally blocked in vitro hemin toxicity, equimolar albumin (another heme binder) or 10% serum induced equal protection. rA1M failed to mitigate any nonhemin forms of either in vitro or in vivo injury. A1M appeared to be rapidly degraded within proximal tubules (by Western blot analysis). Surprisingly, rA1M exerted select injury-promoting effects (increased in vitro catalytic iron/antimycin toxicities and increased in vivo monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin mRNA expression after glycerol or endotoxin injection). We conclude that rA1M has questionable utility as a renal antioxidant/cytoprotective agent, particularly in the presence of larger amounts of competitive free heme (e.g., albumin) binders.
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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