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Preview: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology current issue

Journal of the American Society of Nephrology current issue



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This Months Highlights

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00




Thoughts on Turning 29

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00
















Genetic Complexity of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney and Liver Diseases

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Data indicate significant phenotypic and genotypic overlap, plus a common pathogenesis, between two groups of inherited disorders, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney diseases (ADPKD), a significant cause of ESRD, and autosomal dominant polycystic liver diseases (ADPLD), which result in significant PLD with minimal PKD. Eight genes have been associated with ADPKD (PKD1 and PKD2), ADPLD (PRKCSH, SEC63, LRP5, ALG8, and SEC61B), or both (GANAB). Although genetics is only infrequently used for diagnosing these diseases and prognosing the associated outcomes, its value is beginning to be appreciated, and the genomics revolution promises more reliable and less expensive molecular diagnostic tools for these diseases. We therefore propose categorization of patients with a phenotypic and genotypic descriptor that will clarify etiology, provide prognostic information, and better describe atypical cases. In genetically defined cases, the designation would include the disease and gene names, with allelic (truncating/nontruncating) information included for PKD1. Recent data have shown that biallelic disease including at least one weak ADPKD allele is a significant cause of symptomatic, very early onset ADPKD. Including a genic (and allelic) descriptor with the disease name will provide outcome clues, guide treatment, and aid prevalence estimates.




Precision Transplant Medicine: Biomarkers to the Rescue

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The concept that individuals with the same disease and a similar clinical presentation may have very different outcomes and need very different therapies is not novel. With the development of many innovative tools derived from the omics technologies, transplant medicine is slowly entering the era of precision medicine. Biomarkers are the cornerstone of precision medicine, which aims to integrate biomarkers with traditional clinical information and tailor medical care to achieve the best outcome for an individual patient. Here, we discuss the basic concepts of precision medicine and biomarkers, with a specific focus on progress in renal transplantation. We delineate the different types of biomarkers and provide a general assessment of the current applications and shortcomings of previously proposed biomarkers. We also outline the potential of precision medicine in transplantation. Moving toward precision medicine in the field of transplantation will require transplant physicians to embrace the increased complexity and expanded decision algorithms and therapeutic options that are associated with improved disease nosology.




Novel Insights into the Pathogenesis of Monogenic Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Congenital anomalies of the kidneys and urinary tract (CAKUT) comprise a large spectrum of congenital malformations ranging from severe manifestations, such as renal agenesis, to potentially milder conditions, such as vesicoureteral reflux. CAKUT causes approximately 40% of ESRD that manifests within the first three decades of life. Several lines of evidence indicate that CAKUT is often caused by recessive or dominant mutations in single (monogenic) genes. To date, approximately 40 monogenic genes are known to cause CAKUT if mutated, explaining 5%–20% of patients. However, hundreds of different monogenic CAKUT genes probably exist. The discovery of novel CAKUT-causing genes remains challenging because of this pronounced heterogeneity, variable expressivity, and incomplete penetrance. We here give an overview of known genetic causes for human CAKUT and shed light on distinct renal morphogenetic pathways that were identified as relevant for CAKUT in mice and humans.




DnaJ Heat Shock Protein Family B Member 9 Is a Novel Biomarker for Fibrillary GN

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Fibrillary GN (FGN) is a rare primary glomerular disease. Histologic and histochemical features of FGN overlap with those of other glomerular diseases, and no unique histologic biomarkers for diagnosing FGN have been identified. We analyzed the proteomic content of glomeruli in patient biopsy specimens and detected DnaJ heat shock protein family (Hsp40) member B9 (DNAJB9) as the fourth most abundant protein in FGN glomeruli. Compared with amyloidosis glomeruli, FGN glomeruli exhibited a >6-fold overexpression of DNAJB9 protein. Sanger sequencing and protein sequence coverage maps showed that the DNAJB9 protein deposited in FGN glomeruli did not have any major sequence or structural alterations. Notably, we detected DNAJB9 in all patients with FGN but not in healthy glomeruli or in 19 types of non-FGN glomerular diseases. We also observed the codeposition of DNAJB9 and Ig-. Overall, these findings indicate that DNAJB9 is an FGN marker with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The magnitude and specificity of DNAJB9 overabundance in FGN also suggests that this protein has a role in FGN pathogenesis. With this evidence, we propose that DNAJB9 is a strong biomarker for rapid diagnosis of FGN in renal biopsy specimens.




Aldosterone Is Essential for Angiotensin II-Induced Upregulation of Pendrin

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system has an important role in the control of fluid homeostasis and BP during volume depletion. Dietary salt restriction elevates circulating angiotensin II (AngII) and aldosterone levels, increasing levels of the Cl/HCO3 exchanger pendrin in β-intercalated cells and the Na+-Cl cotransporter (NCC) in distal convoluted tubules. However, the independent roles of AngII and aldosterone in regulating these levels remain unclear. In C57BL/6J mice receiving a low-salt diet or AngII infusion, we evaluated the membrane protein abundance of pendrin and NCC; assessed the phosphorylation of the mineralocorticoid receptor, which selectively inhibits aldosterone binding in intercalated cells; and measured BP by radiotelemetry in pendrin-knockout and wild-type mice. A low-salt diet or AngII infusion upregulated NCC and pendrin levels, decreased the phosphorylation of mineralocorticoid receptor in β-intercalated cells, and increased plasma aldosterone levels. Notably, a low-salt diet did not alter BP in wild-type mice, but significantly decreased BP in pendrin-knockout mice. To dissect the roles of AngII and aldosterone, we performed adrenalectomies in mice to remove aldosterone from the circulation. In adrenalectomized mice, AngII infusion again upregulated NCC expression, but did not affect pendrin expression despite the decreased phosphorylation of mineralocorticoid receptor. By contrast, AngII and aldosterone coadministration markedly elevated pendrin levels in adrenalectomized mice. Our results indicate that aldosterone is necessary for AngII-induced pendrin upregulation, and suggest that pendrin contributes to the maintenance of normal BP in cooperation with NCC during activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system by dietary salt restriction.




Cardiovascular Effects of Renal Distal Tubule Deletion of the FGF Receptor 1 Gene

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The bone-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor–23 (FGF-23) activates complexes composed of FGF receptors (FGFRs), including FGFR1, and α-Klotho in the kidney distal tubule (DT), leading to increased sodium retention and hypertension. However, the role of FGFR1 in regulating renal processes linked to hypertension is unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of selective FGFR1 loss in the DT. Conditional knockout (cKO) of FGFR1 in the DT (FGFR1DT-cKO mice) resulted in left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and decreased kidney expression of α-Klotho in association with enhanced BP, decreased expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2, and increased expression of the Na+-K+-2Cl cotransporter. Notably, recombinant FGF-23 administration similarly decreased the kidney expression of α-Klotho and induced LVH in mice. Pharmacologic activation of FGFR1 with a monoclonal anti-FGFR1 antibody (R1MAb1) normalized BP and significantly attenuated LVH in the Hyp mouse model of excess FGF-23, but did not induce a response in FGFR1DT-cKO mice. The hearts of FGFR1DT-cKO mice showed increased expression of the transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily C, member 6 (TRPC6), consistent with cardiac effects of soluble Klotho deficiency. Moreover, administration of recombinant soluble Klotho lowered BP in the Hyp mice. Thus, FGFR1 in the DT regulates systemic hemodynamic responses opposite to those predicted by the actions of FGF-23. These cardiovascular effects appear to be mediated by paracrine FGF control of kidney FGFR1 and subsequent regulation of soluble Klotho and TRPC6. FGFR1 in the kidney may provide a new molecular target for treating hypertension.




Kidney Proximal Tubule Lipoapoptosis Is Regulated by Fatty Acid Transporter-2 (FATP2)

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Albuminuria and tubular atrophy are among the highest risks for CKD progression to ESRD. A parsimonious mechanism involves leakage of albumin-bound nonesterified fatty acids (NEFAs) across the damaged glomerular filtration barrier and subsequent reabsorption by the downstream proximal tubule, causing lipoapoptosis. We sought to identify the apical proximal tubule transporter that mediates NEFA uptake and cytotoxicity. We observed transporter-mediated uptake of fluorescently labeled NEFA in cultured proximal tubule cells and microperfused rat proximal tubules, with greater uptake from the apical surface than from the basolateral surface. Protein and mRNA expression analyses revealed that kidney proximal tubules express transmembrane fatty acid transporter-2 (FATP2), encoded by Slc27a2, but not the other candidate transporters CD36 and free fatty acid receptor 1. Kidney FATP2 localized exclusively to proximal tubule epithelial cells along the apical but not the basolateral membrane. Treatment of mice with lipidated albumin to induce proteinuria caused a decrease in the proportion of tubular epithelial cells and an increase in the proportion of interstitial space in kidneys from wild-type but not Slc27a2/mice. Ex vivo microperfusion and in vitro experiments with NEFA-bound albumin at concentrations that mimic apical proximal tubule exposure during glomerular injury revealed significantly reduced NEFA uptake and palmitate-induced apoptosis in microperfused Slc27a2–/– proximal tubules and Slc27a2–/– or FATP2 shRNA-treated proximal tubule cell lines compared with wild-type or scrambled oligonucleotide–treated cells, respectively. We conclude that FATP2 is a major apical proximal tubule NEFA transporter that regulates lipoapoptosis and may be an amenable target for the prevention of CKD progression.




ShcA Adaptor Protein Promotes Nephrin Endocytosis and Is Upregulated in Proteinuric Nephropathies

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Nephrin is a key structural component of the podocyte slit diaphragm, and proper expression of nephrin on the cell surface is critical to ensure integrity of the blood filtration barrier. Maintenance of nephrin within this unique cell junction has been proposed to require dynamic phosphorylation events and endocytic recycling, although the molecular mechanisms that control this interplay are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the possibility that the phosphotyrosine adaptor protein ShcA regulates nephrin turnover. Western blotting and immunostaining analysis confirmed that ShcA is expressed in podocytes. In immunoprecipitation and pulldown assays, ShcA, via its SH2 domain, was associated with several phosphorylated tyrosine residues on nephrin. Overexpression of ShcA promoted nephrin tyrosine phosphorylation and reduced nephrin signaling and cell surface expression in vitro. In a rat model of reversible podocyte injury and proteinuria, phosphorylated nephrin temporally colocalized with endocytic structures coincident with upregulation of ShcA expression. In vivo biotinylation assays confirmed that nephrin expression decreased at the cell surface and correspondingly increased in the cytosol during the injury time course. Finally, immunostaining in kidney biopsy specimens demonstrated overexpression of ShcA in several human proteinuric kidney diseases compared with normal conditions. Our results suggest that increases in ShcA perturb nephrin phosphosignaling dynamics, leading to aberrant nephrin turnover and slit diaphragm disassembly.




Endotoxin Preconditioning Reprograms S1 Tubules and Macrophages to Protect the Kidney

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Preconditioning with a low dose of endotoxin confers unparalleled protection against otherwise lethal models of sepsis. The mechanisms of preconditioning have been investigated extensively in isolated immune cells such as macrophages. However, the role of tissue in mediating the protective response generated by preconditioning remains unknown. Here, using the kidney as a model organ, we investigated cell type–specific responses to preconditioning. Compared with preadministration of vehicle, endotoxin preconditioning in the cecal ligation and puncture mouse model of sepsis led to significantly enhanced survival and reduced bacterial load in several organs. Furthermore, endotoxin preconditioning reduced serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines, upregulated molecular pathways involved in phagocytosis, and prevented the renal function decline and injury induced in mice by a toxic dose of endotoxin. The protective phenotype involved the clustering of macrophages around S1 segments of proximal tubules, and full renal protection required both macrophages and renal tubular cells. Using unbiased S1 transcriptomic and tissue metabolomic approaches, we identified multiple protective molecules that were operative in preconditioned animals, including molecules involved in antibacterial defense, redox balance, and tissue healing. We conclude that preconditioning reprograms macrophages and tubules to generate a protective environment, in which tissue health is preserved and immunity is controlled yet effective. Endotoxin preconditioning can thus be used as a discovery platform, and understanding the role and participation of both tissue and macrophages will help refine targeted therapies for sepsis.




FXR/TGR5 Dual Agonist Prevents Progression of Nephropathy in Diabetes and Obesity

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Bile acids are ligands for the nuclear hormone receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and the G protein–coupled receptor TGR5. We have shown that FXR and TGR5 have renoprotective roles in diabetes- and obesity-related kidney disease. Here, we determined whether these effects are mediated through differential or synergistic signaling pathways. We administered the FXR/TGR5 dual agonist INT-767 to DBA/2J mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, db/db mice with type 2 diabetes, and C57BL/6J mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity. We also examined the individual effects of the selective FXR agonist obeticholic acid (OCA) and the TGR5 agonist INT-777 in diabetic mice. The FXR agonist OCA and the TGR5 agonist INT-777 modulated distinct renal signaling pathways involved in the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetic nephropathy. Treatment of diabetic DBA/2J and db/db mice with the dual FXR/TGR5 agonist INT-767 improved proteinuria and prevented podocyte injury, mesangial expansion, and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. INT-767 exerted coordinated effects on multiple pathways, including stimulation of a signaling cascade involving AMP-activated protein kinase, sirtuin 1, PGC-1α, sirtuin 3, estrogen-related receptor-α, and Nrf-1; inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum stress; and inhibition of enhanced renal fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism. Additionally, in mice with diet-induced obesity, INT-767 prevented mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress determined by fluorescence lifetime imaging of NADH and kidney fibrosis determined by second harmonic imaging microscopy. These results identify the renal signaling pathways regulated by FXR and TGR5, which may be promising targets for the treatment of nephropathy in diabetes and obesity.




Opposing Roles of Dendritic Cell Subsets in Experimental GN

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Dendritic cells (DCs) are thought to form a dendritic network across barrier surfaces and throughout organs, including the kidney, to perform an important sentinel function. However, previous studies of DC function used markers, such as CD11c or CX3CR1, that are not unique to DCs. Here, we evaluated the role of DCs in renal inflammation using a CD11c reporter mouse line and two mouse lines with DC-specific reporters, Zbtb46-GFP and Snx22-GFP. Multiphoton microscopy of kidney sections confirmed that most of the dendritically shaped CD11c+ cells forming a network throughout the renal interstitium expressed macrophage-specific markers. In contrast, DCs marked by Zbtb46-GFP or Snx22-GFP were less abundant, concentrated around blood vessels, and round in shape. We confirmed this pattern of localization using imaging mass cytometry. Motility measurements showed that resident macrophages were sessile, whereas DCs were motile before and after inflammation. Although uninflamed glomeruli rarely contained DCs, injury with nephrotoxic antibodies resulted in accumulation of ZBTB46+ cells in the periglomerular region. ZBTB46 identifies all classic DCs, which can be categorized into two functional subsets that express either CD103 or CD11b. Depletion of ZBTB46+ cells attenuated the antibody-induced kidney injury, whereas deficiency of the CD103+ subset accelerated injury through a mechanism that involved increased neutrophil infiltration. RNA sequencing 7 days after nephrotoxic antibody injection showed that CD11b+ DCs expressed the neutrophil-attracting cytokine CXCL2, whereas CD103+ DCs expressed high levels of several anti-inflammatory genes. These results provide new insights into the distinct functions of the two major DC subsets in glomerular inflammation.




MYH9 E1841K Mutation Augments Proteinuria and Podocyte Injury and Migration

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Intronic variants of the MYH9 gene that encodes the nonmuscle myosin heavy chain IIA are associated with diabetic nephropathy in European Americans and with sickle cell disease–associated nephropathy. However, the causal functional variants of MYH9 have remained elusive. Rare missense mutations in MYH9 cause macrothrombocytopenia and are occasionally associated with development of nephropathy. The E1841K mutation is among the common MYH9 missense mutations and has been associated with nephropathy in some carriers. To determine the contribution of the E1841K mutation in kidney disease, we studied the effects of the E1841K mutation in mice subjected to high salt or angiotensin II (Ang II) as models of hypertension and in mice subjected to renal mass reduction as a model of CKD. Despite similar levels of BP among wild-type (MYH9+/+) mice and mice heterozygous (MYH9+/E1841K) and homozygous (MYH9E1841K/E1841K) for the mutation in each model, MYH9E1841K/E1841K mice exhibited mildly increased albuminuria in response to high salt; severe albuminuria, nephrinuria, FSGS, and podocyte foot effacement in Ang II–induced hypertension; and early mortality in the renal mass reduction model. Treatment with candesartan during Ang II–induced hypertension attenuated kidney disease development in MYH9E1841K/E1841K mice. In vitro, isolated primary podocytes from MYH9E1841K/E1841K mice exhibited increased lamellipodia formation and reorganization of F-actin stress fibers. Wound healing assays revealed that MYH9+/+ podocytes had the lowest migration rate, followed by MYH9+/E1841K then MYH9E1841K/E1841K podocytes. In conclusion, the MYH9 E1841K variant alters podocyte cytoskeletal structure and renders podocytes more susceptible to injury after a damaging stimulus.




Collectin-11 Promotes the Development of Renal Tubulointerstitial Fibrosis

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Collectin-11 is a recently described soluble C-type lectin, a pattern recognition molecule of the innate immune system that has distinct roles in host defense, embryonic development, and acute inflammation. However, little is known regarding the role of collectin-11 in tissue fibrosis. Here, we investigated collectin-11 in the context of renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. Compared with wild-type littermate controls, Collec11 deficient (CL-11–/–) mice had significantly reduced renal functional impairment, tubular injury, renal leukocyte infiltration, renal tissue inflammation/fibrogenesis, and collagen deposition in the kidneys after renal ischemia-reperfusion injury. In vitro, recombinant collectin-11 potently promoted leukocyte migration and renal fibroblast proliferation in a carbohydrate-dependent manner. Additionally, compared with wild-type kidney grafts, CL-11–/– mice kidney grafts displayed significantly reduced tubular injury and collagen deposition after syngeneic kidney transplant. Our findings demonstrate a pathogenic role for collectin-11 in the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis and suggest that local collectin-11 promotes this fibrosis through effects on leukocyte chemotaxis and renal fibroblast proliferation. This insight into the pathogenesis of tubulointerstitial fibrosis may have implications for CKD mediated by other causes as well.




Wnt/{beta}-Catenin-Promoted Macrophage Alternative Activation Contributes to Kidney Fibrosis

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The Wnt/β-catenin pathway is crucial in normal development and throughout life, but aberrant activation of this pathway has been linked to kidney fibrosis, although the mechanisms involved remain incompletely determined. Here, we investigated the role of Wnt/β-catenin in regulating macrophage activation and the contribution thereof to kidney fibrosis. Treatment of macrophages with Wnt3a exacerbated IL-4– or TGFβ1-induced macrophage alternative (M2) polarization and the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of STAT3 in vitro. Conversely, inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling prevented these IL-4– or TGFβ1-induced processes. In a mouse model, induced deletion of β-catenin in macrophages attenuated the fibrosis, macrophage accumulation, and M2 polarization observed in the kidneys of wild-type littermates after unilateral ureter obstruction. This study shows that activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes kidney fibrosis by stimulating macrophage M2 polarization.




Dynamin-Related Protein 1 Deficiency Promotes Recovery from AKI

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The proximal tubule epithelium relies on mitochondrial function for energy, rendering the kidney highly susceptible to ischemic AKI. Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), a mediator of mitochondrial fission, regulates mitochondrial function; however, the cell-specific and temporal role of DRP1 in AKI in vivo is unknown. Using genetic murine models, we found that proximal tubule–specific deletion of Drp1 prevented the renal ischemia-reperfusion–induced kidney injury, inflammation, and programmed cell death observed in wild-type mice and promoted epithelial recovery, which associated with activation of the renoprotective β-hydroxybutyrate signaling pathway. Loss of DRP1 preserved mitochondrial structure and reduced oxidative stress in injured kidneys. Lastly, proximal tubule deletion of DRP1 after ischemia-reperfusion injury attenuated progressive kidney injury and fibrosis. These results implicate DRP1 and mitochondrial dynamics as an important mediator of AKI and progression to fibrosis and suggest that DRP1 may serve as a therapeutic target for AKI.




Incident CKD after Radical or Partial Nephrectomy

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The comparative effectiveness of partial nephrectomy versus radical nephrectomy to preserve kidney function has not been well established. We determined the risk of clinically significant (stage 4 and higher) CKD after radical or partial nephrectomy among veterans treated for kidney cancer in the Veterans Health Administration (2001–2013). Among patients with preoperative eGFR≥30 ml/min per 1.73 m2, the incidence of CKD stage 4 or higher after radical (n=9759) or partial nephrectomy (n=4370) was 7.9% overall. The median time to stage 4 or higher CKD after surgery was 5 months, after which few patients progressed. In propensity score–matched cohorts, partial nephrectomy associated with a significantly lower relative risk of incident CKD stage 4 or higher (hazard ratio, 0.34; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.26 to 0.43, versus radical nephrectomy). In a parallel analysis of patients with normal or near-normal preoperative kidney function (eGFR≥60 ml/min per 1.73 m2), partial nephrectomy was also associated with a significantly lower relative risk of incident CKD stage 3b or higher (hazard ratio, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.19, versus radical nephrectomy) in propensity score–matched cohorts. Competing risk regression models produced consistent results. Finally, patients treated with a partial nephrectomy had reduced risk of mortality (hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.62). In conclusion, compared with radical nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy was associated with a marked reduction in the incidence of clinically significant CKD and with enhanced survival. Postoperative decline in kidney function occurred mainly in the first year after surgery and appeared stable over time.




Particulate Matter Air Pollution and the Risk of Incident CKD and Progression to ESRD

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Elevated levels of fine particulate matter <2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular outcomes and death, but their association with risk of CKD and ESRD is unknown. We linked the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs databases to build an observational cohort of 2,482,737 United States veterans, and used survival models to evaluate the association of PM2.5 concentrations and risk of incident eGFR <60 ml/min per 1.73 m2, incident CKD, eGFR decline ≥30%, and ESRD over a median follow-up of 8.52 years. County-level exposure was defined at baseline as the annual average PM2.5 concentrations in 2004, and separately as time-varying where it was updated annually and as cohort participants moved. In analyses of baseline exposure (median, 11.8 [interquartile range, 10.1–13.7] µg/m3), a 10-µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 concentration was associated with increased risk of eGFR<60 ml/min per 1.73 m2 (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.14 to 1.29), CKD (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.17 to 1.38), eGFR decline ≥30% (HR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.18 to 1.39), and ESRD (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.17 to 1.35). In time-varying analyses, a 10-µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 concentration was associated with similarly increased risk of eGFR<60 ml/min per 1.73 m2, CKD, eGFR decline ≥30%, and ESRD. Spline analyses showed a linear relationship between PM2.5 concentrations and risk of kidney outcomes. Exposure estimates derived from National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data yielded consistent results. Our findings demonstrate a significant association between exposure to PM2.5 and risk of incident CKD, eGFR decline, and ESRD.




DnaJ Homolog Subfamily B Member 9 Is a Putative Autoantigen in Fibrillary GN

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Fibrillary GN is a rare form of GN of uncertain pathogenesis that is characterized by the glomerular accumulation of randomly arranged, nonbranching fibrils (12–24 nm) composed of Ig and complement proteins. In this study, we used mass spectrometry to comprehensively define the glomerular proteome in fibrillary GN compared with that in controls and nonfibrillary GN renal diseases. We isolated glomeruli from formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens using laser capture microdissection and analyzed them with liquid chromatography and data-dependent tandem mass spectrometry. These studies identified DnaJ homolog subfamily B member 9 (DNAJB9) as a highly sampled protein detected only in fibrillary GN cases. The glomerular proteome of fibrillary GN cases also contained IgG1 as the dominant Ig and proteins of the classic complement pathway. In fibrillary GN specimens only, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry with an anti-DNAJB9 antibody showed strong and specific staining of the glomerular tufts in a distribution that mimicked that of the immune deposits. Our results identify DNAJB9 as a putative autoantigen in fibrillary GN and suggest IgG1 and classic complement effector pathways as likely mediators of the destructive glomerular injury in this disease.




Factor H Competitor Generated by Gene Conversion Events Associates with Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), a rare form of thrombotic microangiopathy caused by complement pathogenic variants, mainly affects the kidney microvasculature. A retrospective genetic analysis in our aHUS cohort (n=513) using multiple ligation probe amplification uncovered nine unrelated patients carrying a genetic abnormality in the complement factor H related 1 gene (CFHR1) that originates by recurrent gene conversion events between the CFH and CFHR1 genes. The novel CFHR1 mutants encode an FHR-1 protein with two amino acid substitutions, L290S and A296V, converting the FHR-1 C terminus into that of factor H (FH). Next-generation massive-parallel DNA sequencing (NGS) analysis did not detect these genetic abnormalities. In addition to the CFHR1 mutant, six patients carried the previously uncharacterized CFH-411T variant. In functional analyses, the mutant FHR-1 protein strongly competed the binding of FH to cell surfaces, impairing complement regulation, whereas the CFH-411T polymorphism lacked functional consequences. Carriers of the CFHR1 mutation presented with severe aHUS during adulthood; 57% of affected women in this cohort presented during the postpartum period. Analyses in patients and unaffected carriers showed that FH plasma levels determined by the nonmutated chromosome modulate disease penetrance. Crucially, in the activated endothelial (HMEC-1) cell assay, reduced FH plasma levels produced by the nonmutated chromosome correlated inversely with impairment of complement regulation, measured as C5b-9 deposition. Our data advance understanding of the genetic complexities underlying aHUS, illustrate the importance of performing functional analysis, and support the use of complementary assays to disclose genetic abnormalities not revealed by current NGS analysis.




Metabolic Effects of Diet and Exercise in Patients with Moderate to Severe CKD: A Randomized Clinical Trial

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

CKD is steadily increasing along with obesity worldwide. Furthermore, obesity is a proinflammatory risk factor for progression of CKD and cardiovascular disease. We tested the hypothesis that implementation of caloric restriction and aerobic exercise is feasible and can improve the proinflammatory metabolic milieu in patients with moderate to severe CKD through a pilot, randomized, 2x2 factorial design trial. Of 122 participants consented, 111 were randomized to receive caloric restriction and aerobic exercise, caloric restriction alone, aerobic exercise alone, or usual care. Of those randomized, 42% were women, 25% were diabetic, and 91% were hypertensive; 104 started intervention, and 92 completed the 4-month study. Primary outcomes were a change from baseline in absolute fat mass, body weight, plasma F2-isoprostane concentrations, and peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak). Compared with usual care, the combined intervention led to statistically significant decreases in body weight and body fat percentage. Caloric restriction alone also led to significant decreases in these measures, but aerobic exercise alone did not. The combined intervention and each independent intervention also led to significant decreases in F2-isoprostane and IL-6 concentrations. No intervention produced significant changes in VO2 peak, kidney function, or urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio. In conclusion, 4-month dietary calorie restriction and aerobic exercise had significant, albeit clinically modest, benefits on body weight, fat mass, and markers of oxidative stress and inflammatory response in patients with moderate to severe CKD. These results suggest healthy lifestyle interventions as a nonpharmacologic strategy to improve markers of metabolic health in these patients.




Allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Treatment of AKI after Cardiac Surgery

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

AKI after cardiac surgery remains strongly associated with mortality and lacks effective treatment or prevention. Preclinical studies suggest that cell-based interventions may influence functional recovery. We conducted a phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 27 centers across North America to determine the safety and efficacy of allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in reducing the time to recovery from AKI after cardiac surgery. We randomized 156 adult subjects undergoing cardiac surgery with evidence of early AKI to receive intra-aortic MSCs (AC607; n=67) or placebo (n=68). The primary outcome was the time to recovery of kidney function defined as return of postintervention creatinine level to baseline. The median time to recovery of kidney function was 15 days with AC607 and 12 days with placebo (25th, 75th percentile range, 10–29 versus 6–21, respectively; hazard ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.53 to 1.24; P=0.32). We did not detect a significant difference between groups in 30-day all-cause mortality (16.7% with AC607; 11.8% with placebo) or dialysis (10.6% with AC607; 7.4% with placebo). At follow-up, 12 patients who received AC607 and six patients who received placebo had died. Rates of other adverse events did not differ between groups. In these patients with AKI after cardiac surgery, administration of allogeneic MSCs did not decrease the time to recovery of kidney function. Our results contrast with those in preclinical studies and provide important information regarding the potential effects of MSCs in this setting.




Complement Activation in Peritoneal Dialysis-Induced Arteriolopathy

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of increased mortality in patients with CKD and is further aggravated by peritoneal dialysis (PD). Children are devoid of preexisting CVD and provide unique insight into specific uremia- and PD-induced pathomechanisms of CVD. We obtained peritoneal specimens from children with stage 5 CKD at time of PD catheter insertion (CKD5 group), children with established PD (PD group), and age-matched nonuremic controls (n=6/group). We microdissected omental arterioles from tissue layers not directly exposed to PD fluid and used adjacent sections of four arterioles per patient for transcriptomic and proteomic analyses. Findings were validated in omental and parietal arterioles from independent pediatric control (n=5), CKD5 (n=15), and PD (n=15) cohorts. Transcriptomic analysis revealed differential gene expression in control versus CKD5 arterioles and in CKD5 versus PD arterioles. Gene ontology analyses revealed activation of metabolic processes in CKD5 arterioles and of inflammatory, immunologic, and stress-response cascades in PD arterioles. PD arterioles exhibited particular upregulation of the complement system and respective regulatory pathways, with concordant findings at the proteomic level. In the validation cohorts, PD specimens had the highest abundance of omental and parietal arteriolar C1q, C3d, terminal complement complex, and phosphorylated SMAD2/3, a downstream effector of TGF-β. Furthermore, in the PD parietal arterioles, C1q and terminal complement complex abundance correlated with the level of dialytic glucose exposure, abundance of phosphorylated SMAD2/3, and degree of vasculopathy. We conclude that PD fluids activate arteriolar complement and TGF-β signaling, which quantitatively correlate with the severity of arteriolar vasculopathy.




Cluster Analysis Identifies Distinct Pathogenetic Patterns in C3 Glomerulopathies/Immune Complex-Mediated Membranoproliferative GN

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Membranoproliferative GN (MPGN) was recently reclassified as alternative pathway complement–mediated C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) and immune complex–mediated membranoproliferative GN (IC-MPGN). However, genetic and acquired alternative pathway abnormalities are also observed in IC-MPGN. Here, we explored the presence of distinct disease entities characterized by specific pathophysiologic mechanisms. We performed unsupervised hierarchical clustering, a data-driven statistical approach, on histologic, genetic, and clinical data and data regarding serum/plasma complement parameters from 173 patients with C3G/IC-MPGN. This approach divided patients into four clusters, indicating the existence of four different pathogenetic patterns. Specifically, this analysis separated patients with fluid-phase complement activation (clusters 1–3) who had low serum C3 levels and a high prevalence of genetic and acquired alternative pathway abnormalities from patients with solid-phase complement activation (cluster 4) who had normal or mildly altered serum C3, late disease onset, and poor renal survival. In patients with fluid-phase complement activation, those in clusters 1 and 2 had massive activation of the alternative pathway, including activation of the terminal pathway, and the highest prevalence of subendothelial deposits, but those in cluster 2 had additional activation of the classic pathway and the highest prevalence of nephrotic syndrome at disease onset. Patients in cluster 3 had prevalent activation of C3 convertase and highly electron-dense intramembranous deposits. In addition, we provide a simple algorithm to assign patients with C3G/IC-MPGN to specific clusters. These distinct clusters may facilitate clarification of disease etiology, improve risk assessment for ESRD, and pave the way for personalized treatment.




Impaired {beta}-Oxidation and Altered Complex Lipid Fatty Acid Partitioning with Advancing CKD

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Studies of lipids in CKD, including ESRD, have been limited to measures of conventional lipid profiles. We aimed to systematically identify 17 different lipid classes and associate the abundance thereof with alterations in acylcarnitines, a metric of β-oxidation, across stages of CKD. From the Clinical Phenotyping Resource and Biobank Core (CPROBE) cohort of 1235 adults, we selected a panel of 214 participants: 36 with stage 1 or 2 CKD, 99 with stage 3 CKD, 61 with stage 4 CKD, and 18 with stage 5 CKD. Among participants, 110 were men (51.4%), 64 were black (29.9%), and 150 were white (70.1%), and the mean (SD) age was 60 (16) years old. We measured plasma lipids and acylcarnitines using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Overall, we identified 330 different lipids across 17 different classes. Compared with earlier stages, stage 5 CKD associated with a higher abundance of saturated C16–C20 free fatty acids (FFAs) and long polyunsaturated complex lipids. Long-chain–to–intermediate-chain acylcarnitine ratio, a marker of efficiency of β-oxidation, exhibited a graded decrease from stage 2 to 5 CKD (P<0.001). Additionally, multiple linear regression revealed that the long-chain–to–intermediate-chain acylcarnitine ratio inversely associated with polyunsaturated long complex lipid subclasses and the C16–C20 FFAs but directly associated with short complex lipids with fewer double bonds. We conclude that increased abundance of saturated C16–C20 FFAs coupled with impaired β-oxidation of FFAs and inverse partitioning into complex lipids may be mechanisms underpinning lipid metabolism changes that typify advancing CKD.




BP in Dialysis: Results of a Pilot Study

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The optimal BP target for patients receiving hemodialysis is unknown. We randomized 126 hypertensive patients on hemodialysis to a standardized predialysis systolic BP of 110–140 mmHg (intensive arm) or 155–165 mmHg (standard arm). The primary objectives were to assess feasibility and safety and inform the design of a full-scale trial. A secondary objective was to assess changes in left ventricular mass. Median follow-up was 365 days. In the standard arm, the 2-week moving average systolic BP did not change significantly during the intervention period, but in the intensive arm, systolic BP decreased from 160 mmHg at baseline to 143 mmHg at 4.5 months. From months 4–12, the mean separation in systolic BP between arms was 12.9 mmHg. Four deaths occurred in the intensive arm and one death occurred in the standard arm. The incidence rate ratios for the intensive compared with the standard arm (95% confidence intervals) were 1.18 (0.40 to 3.33), 1.61 (0.87 to 2.97), and 3.09 (0.96 to 8.78) for major adverse cardiovascular events, hospitalizations, and vascular access thrombosis, respectively. The intensive and standard arms had similar median changes (95% confidence intervals) in left ventricular mass of –0.84 (–17.1 to 10.0) g and 1.4 (–11.6 to 10.4) g, respectively. Although we identified a possible safety signal, the small size and short duration of the trial prevent definitive conclusions. Considering the high risk for major adverse cardiovascular events in patients receiving hemodialysis, a full-scale trial is needed to assess potential benefits of intensive hypertension control in this population.




Effects of Two Immunosuppressive Treatment Protocols for IgA Nephropathy

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

The role of immunosuppression in IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is controversial. In the Supportive Versus Immunosuppressive Therapy for the Treatment of Progressive IgA Nephropathy (STOP-IgAN) Trial, 162 patients with IgAN and proteinuria >0.75 g/d after 6 months of optimized supportive care were randomized into two groups: continued supportive care or additional immunosuppression (GFR≥60 ml/min per 1.73 m2: 6-month corticosteroid monotherapy; GFR=30–59 ml/min per 1.73 m2: cyclophosphamide for 3 months followed by azathioprine plus oral prednisolone). Coprimary end points were full clinical remission and GFR loss ≥15 ml/min per 1.73 m2 during the 3-year trial phase. In this secondary intention to treat analysis, we separately analyzed data from each immunosuppression subgroup and the corresponding patients on supportive care. Full clinical remission occurred in 11 (20%) patients receiving corticosteroid monotherapy and three (6%) patients on supportive care (odds ratio, 5.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.07 to 26.36; P=0.02), but the rate did not differ between patients receiving immunosuppressive combination and controls on supportive care (11% versus 4%, respectively; P=0.30). The end point of GFR loss ≥15 ml/min per 1.73 m2 did not differ between groups. Only corticosteroid monotherapy transiently reduced proteinuria at 12 months. Severe infections, impaired glucose tolerance, and/or weight gain in the first year were more frequent with either immunosuppressive regimen than with supportive care. In conclusion, only corticosteroid monotherapy induced disease remission in a minority of patients who had IgAN with relatively well preserved GFR and persistent proteinuria. Neither immunosuppressive regimen prevented GFR loss, and both associated with substantial adverse events.




Neutralizing Antibody-Mediated Response and Risk of BK Virus-Associated Nephropathy

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

BK virus–associated nephropathy (BKVAN) causes renal allograft dysfunction. The current management of BKVAN relies on pre-emptive adaptation of immunosuppression according to viral load monitoring. However, this empiric strategy is not always successful. Therefore, pretransplant predictive markers are needed. In a prospective longitudinal study, we enrolled 168 kidney transplant recipients and 69 matched donors. To assess the value of BKV genotype–specific neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers as a predictive marker for BKV replication, we measured BKV DNA load and NAb titers at transplant and followed patients for 24 months. After transplant, 52 (31%) patients displayed BKV replication: 24 (46%) patients were viruric and 28 (54%) patients were viremic, including 13 with biopsy-confirmed BKVAN. At any time, patients with high NAb titers against the replicating strain had a lower risk of developing BKV viremia (hazard ratio [HR], 0.44; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.26 to 0.73; P=0.002). Each log10 increase in NAb titer decreased the risk of developing viremia by 56%. Replicating strains were consistent with donor transmission in 95% of cases of early BKV replication. Genotype mismatch between recipients’ neutralization profiles before transplant and their subsequently replicating strain significantly increased the risk of developing viremia (HR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.06 to 4.88; P=0.04). A NAb titer against the donor’s strain <4 log10 before transplant significantly associated with BKV replication after transplant (HR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.45; P=0.03). BKV genotype–specific NAb titers may be a meaningful predictive marker that allows patient stratification by BKV disease risk before and after transplant.




Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis Unravels Interactions between Magnesium Homeostasis and Metabolic Phenotypes

2017-12-29T13:00:46-08:00

Magnesium (Mg2+) homeostasis is critical for metabolism. However, the genetic determinants of the renal handling of Mg2+, which is crucial for Mg2+ homeostasis, and the potential influence on metabolic traits in the general population are unknown. We obtained plasma and urine parameters from 9099 individuals from seven cohorts, and conducted a genome-wide meta-analysis of Mg2+ homeostasis. We identified two loci associated with urinary magnesium (uMg), rs3824347 (P=4.4x10–13) near TRPM6, which encodes an epithelial Mg2+ channel, and rs35929 (P=2.1x10–11), a variant of ARL15, which encodes a GTP-binding protein. Together, these loci account for 2.3% of the variation in 24-hour uMg excretion. In human kidney cells, ARL15 regulated TRPM6-mediated currents. In zebrafish, dietary Mg2+ regulated the expression of the highly conserved ARL15 ortholog arl15b, and arl15b knockdown resulted in renal Mg2+ wasting and metabolic disturbances. Finally, ARL15 rs35929 modified the association of uMg with fasting insulin and fat mass in a general population. In conclusion, this combined observational and experimental approach uncovered a gene–environment interaction linking Mg2+ deficiency to insulin resistance and obesity.