The findings take a major step toward suggesting a beneficial treatment for rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN), a rare but debilitating kidney disease that causes renal failure and death in humans.
In a paper published online in Nature Medicine, the researchers show that blocking the ability of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor – an important component in wound healing – to bind with certain molecules in the kidneys of mice can eliminate the harmful effects of a mimic version of RPGN.
EGF receptors act like important keyholes on a cell's surface, says Dr. David Threadgill, professor and head of NC State's Department of Genetics and a co-author of the paper. Certain keys, or in this case molecules, can fit with the receptor and "open the door" to a cascade of cellular processes leading to inflammation, which can be good when your body needs to heal a wound or a cut. It's bad, however, when the inflammation runs amok, as when RPGN takes hold.
How important are EGF receptors in RPGN? When EGF receptors were taken out of the equation – through special mice from Threadgill's lab that were genetically engineered without EGF receptors – the disease was unable to take hold and degenerate kidney tissues.
The study also showed that certain drugs that inhibit EGF receptors – think of them as pieces of gum in the keyholes – not only prevented mouse kidneys from degrading but also reversed the harmful effects four days after mice were exposed to the RPGN mimic.
"EGF receptors are essential components for life, but are implicated in not only RPGN but also a number of cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer," Threadgill says. "They must be tightly regulated. If we can inhibit these receptors for short periods of time, we may be able to stop out-of-control cell proliferation and inflammation and thus prevent or treat certain cancers or diseases."
The Department of Genetics is part of NC State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
"The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Promotes Glomerular Injury and Renal Failure in Rapidly Progressive Crescentic Glomerulonephritis; the Identification of Possible Therapy"Authors: Martin Flamant, Universite Paris-Diderot; Guillaume Bollee, Universite Paris-Descartes; David Threadgill, North Carolina State University, et al
Published: Online Sept. 25, 2011, in Nature Medicine
Abstract: Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis (RPGN) is a clinical syndrome and a morphological expression of severe glomerular injury. Glomerular injury manifests as a proliferative histological pattern, accumulation of T cells and macrophages, proliferation of intrinsic glomerular cells, accumulation of cells in Bowman's space ("crescents"), and rapid deterioration of renal function. Here we show de novo induction of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) in intrinsic glomerular epithelial cells (podocytes) from both mice and humans with RPGN. HB-EGF induction increases phosphorylation of the EGFR/ErbB1 receptor in mice with anti-GBM disease. In HB-EGF-deficient mice, EGFR activation in glomeruli is absent and the course of RPGN is markedly improved. Autocrine HB-EGF induces a phenotypic switch in podocytes in vitro. Conditional deletion of the Egfr gene from podocytes of mice alleviates crescentic glomerulonephritis and the clinical features that accompany RPGN. Finally, pharmacological blockade of EGFR also prevents nephrotic syndrome, infiltration of T cells and macrophages, necrotizing crescentic glomerulonephritis, acute renal failure and death in mice. This approach is effective even when started 4 days after the induction of experimental RPGN, suggesting that targeting the HB-EGF/EGFR pathway could also be clinically beneficial for treatment of human RPGN.
Mick Kulikowski | EurekAlert!
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences