The findings, reported in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), come from collaborative research led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Brigham & Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School.
The study may have significant medical ramifications as currently there are no effective treatments for acute kidney injury – a growing problem in hospitals and clinics, according to the study's senior co-authors, Richard Lang, Ph.D., a researcher in the divisions of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Developmental Biology at Cincinnati Children's, and Jeremy Duffield, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Acute kidney injury is a significant cause of kidney disease, cardiovascular complications and early death, affecting as many as 16 million children and adults in the United States.
The new molecular repair pathway involves white blood cells called macrophages – part of the immune system – that respond to tissue injury by producing a protein called Wnt7b. Scientists identified the macrophage-Wnt7b pathway during experiments in mice with induced kidney injury. Wnt7b is already known to be important to the formation of kidney tissues during embryonic organ development. In this study the scientists found the protein helped initiate tissue repair and regeneration in injured kidneys.
"Our findings suggest that by migrating to the injured kidney and producing Wnt7b, macrophages are re-establishing an early molecular program for organ development that also is beneficial to tissue repair," said Dr. Lang. "This study also indicates the pathway may be important to tissue regeneration and repair in other organs."
Wnt7b is part of the Wnt family of proteins, which are known to help regulate cells as they proliferate, grow and become specific cell types for the body. Wnt proteins have also been linked to the regulation of stem cells in bone marrow and skin, which suggested to researchers of the current study that Wnt might have a role in tissue regeneration.
The researchers conducted a number of experiments of kidney injury in mice to identify the repair pathway, finding that:
Silencing macrophage white blood cells through a process called ablation reduced the response level of Wnt proteins to injured kidney cells.
Deleting the Wnt7b protein from macrophages diminished normal tissue repair functions in injured kidneys.
Injecting into the injured kidneys a protein calked Dkk2, which interacts with and is known to help regulate the Wnt pathway during embryonic development, enhanced the macrophage-Wnt7b repair process. It also restored epithelial surface cells that line internal kidney surfaces and suggested a therapeutic potential for the pathway.
Drs. Lang and Duffield said the repair pathway may benefit other injured organs because macrophages act somewhat like a universal emergency responder in the body, rushing to injured tissues wherever damage occurs. Another factor is the central role the Wnt pathway plays in cell regulation and function throughout the body.
Other collaborating institutions in the study include: the Department of Structural Biology , St, Jude Children's Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.; the departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center; Department of Molecular and Developmental Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y.; Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University; the Visual Systems Group in the division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children's; and the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati.
Funding support came from the National Institutes of Health, the American Society of Nephrology Gottschalk Award, the Genzyme Renal Initiatives Program, a National Taiwan Merit Award, and the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute Endowment at Cincinnati Children's.
Nick Miller | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News