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Open AccessArticle

Endoglin Promotes Myofibroblast Differentiation and Extracellular Matrix Production in Diabetic Nephropathy

1
Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
2
Department of obstetrics and gynecology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
3
Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Centre, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7713; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207713
Received: 21 August 2020 / Revised: 7 October 2020 / Accepted: 13 October 2020 / Published: 18 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endoglin in Health and Disease)
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a complication of diabetes mellitus that can lead to proteinuria and a progressive decline in renal function. Endoglin, a co-receptor of TGF-β, is known primarily for regulating endothelial cell function; however, endoglin is also associated with hepatic, cardiac, and intestinal fibrosis. This study investigates whether endoglin contributes to the development of interstitial fibrosis in DN. Kidney autopsy material from 80 diabetic patients was stained for endoglin and Sirius Red and scored semi-quantitatively. Interstitial endoglin expression was increased in samples with DN and was correlated with Sirius Red staining (p < 0.001). Endoglin expression was also correlated with reduced eGFR (p = 0.001), increased creatinine (p < 0.01), increased systolic blood pressure (p < 0.05), hypertension (p < 0.05), and higher IFTA scores (p < 0.001). Biopsy samples from DN patients were also co-immunostained for endoglin together with CD31, CD68, vimentin, or α-SMA Endoglin co-localized with both the endothelial marker CD31 and the myofibroblast marker α-SMA. Finally, we used shRNA to knockdown endoglin expression in a human kidney fibroblast cell line. We found that TGF-β1 stimulation upregulated SERPINE1, CTGF, and ACTA2 mRNA and α-SMA protein, and that these effects were significantly reduced in fibroblasts after endoglin knockdown. Taken together, these data suggest that endoglin plays a role in the pathogenesis of interstitial fibrosis in DN. View Full-Text
Keywords: diabetic nephropathy; endoglin; fibroblast; interstitial fibrosis; TGF-β diabetic nephropathy; endoglin; fibroblast; interstitial fibrosis; TGF-β
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gerrits, T.; Zandbergen, M.; Wolterbeek, R.; Bruijn, J.A.; Baelde, H.J.; Scharpfenecker, M. Endoglin Promotes Myofibroblast Differentiation and Extracellular Matrix Production in Diabetic Nephropathy. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 7713.

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