Parathyroid hormone induces epithelial-to

Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
www.ijcep.com /ISSN:1936-2625/IJCEP0001621
Original Article
Parathyroid hormone
induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal
transition via the Wnt/β-catenin signaling
pathway in human renal proximal tubular cells
Yunshan Guo1*, Zhen Li1*, Raohai Ding1, Hongdong Li1, Lei Zhang1, Weijie Yuan2, Yanxia Wang1
Department of Nephrology, General Hospital of Ji’nan Military Command, Ji’nan 250031, China; 2Department of
Nephrology, Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated First People’s Hospital, 85 Wu Jin Road, Shanghai 200080,
China. *Equal contributors.
1
Received July 30, 2014; Accepted August 21, 2014; Epub August 15, 2014; Published September 1, 2014
Abstract: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to play an important role in renal fibrogenesis. Recent studies suggested parathyroid hormone (PTH) could accelerate EMT and subsequent organ fibrosis.
However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying PTH-induced EMT remain unknown. The present study was
to investigate whether Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is involved in PTH-induced EMT in human renal proximal
tubular cells (HK-2 cells) and to determine the profile of gene expression associated with PTH-induced EMT. PTH
could induce morphological changes and gene expression characteristic of EMT in cultured HK-2 cells. Suppressing
β-catenin expression or DKK1 limited gene expression characteristic of PTH-induced EMT. Based on the PCR array
analysis, PTH treatment resulted in the up-regulation of 18 genes and down-regulation of 9 genes compared with
the control. The results were further supported by a western blot analysis, which showed the increased Wnt4 protein
expression. Wnt4 overexpression also promotes PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells. The findings demonstrated that
PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells is mediated by Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway, and Wnt4 might be a key gene during
PTH-induced EMT.
Keywords: Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, parathyroid hormone, renal tubular epithelial cell, Wnt/β-catenin
signal pathway
Introduction
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been a global
public health problem, and renal interstitial
fibrosis (RIF) is the common characteristic of
CKD leading to end-stage renal failure [1]. Many
research findings from the pathological changes in human renal diseases and experimental
kidney disease models showed that the deterioration of renal function is determined by the
extent and severity of tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
Though therapeutic interventions retard the
progression of renal disease in experimental
models and human CKD clinical trials, there is
no specific treatment or intervention available
to prevent these processes [2-4]. Interstitial
fibrosis is essentially a process of myofibroblast proliferation and excessive accumulation
of extracellular matrix. The main pathological
features are inflammatory-cell infiltration, tubu-
lar atrophy, capillary loss and abundant extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation. The matrix
component is synthesized and secreted by
fibroblasts. Renal interstitial fibroblasts have
three main sources, including renal interstitial
fibroblasts, circulating mesenchymal cells and
renal tubular epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Recently the role of EMT in tubulointerstitial fibrosis has received much attention
[5-7]. The EMT of the renal tubule is regulated
by different growth factors, cytokines, hormones and extracellular signals [8, 9]. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is regarded as
one of the most important cytokines leading to
EMT. As the core factor, TGF-β1 can promote
and regulate renal tubular EMT under pathological condition.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) is the
common complications in patients with CKD
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
[10]. Biochemical and histological evidence
show that elevated levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) typically occur when the glomerular
filtration rate (GFR) is < 70 mL/min. PTH is a polypeptide of 84 amino acids, which initiate signaling pathways by interacting with its receptor
to exert its biological activity. In addition to causing renal osteodystrophy, it affects cardiovascular system, nervous system, lipid metabolism, skin and other tissues and organs, and
indirectly accelerates the decline in renal function [11-13]. PTH receptors have been found in
renal mesangial cells and renal tubular epithelial cells [14]. In the previous study, we have
demonstrated that PTH could induce connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) upregulation in
renal tubular cells, which strongly suggest that
PTH play an important role in the fibrotic process and could induce EMT in HK-2 cells [15,
16]. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown.
The role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in RIF gradually comes to be known [17, 18]. The expression
of Wnt4 could be induced in the murine kidney
48 h after unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO),
and showed a continuous increase of up for 4
weeks [19]. Nonphosphorylated β-catenin level
increased in the cytoplasm, accompany with
the increased level of fibronectin and α-SMA.
Wnt4 is also involved in the pathogenesis of
acute renal failure. The increased level of vimentin was observed in the kidney from 56 patients undergoing renal transplantation after 3
months [20]. The entry of β-catenin to nuclear significantly increased and it interacted with the
members of the transcription factor LEFI/TCF
to promote EMT. Wnt/β-catenin pathway could
also damage the basement membrane of renal
tubular epithelial cells by regulating the expression of matrix metalloproteinases-7 (MMP-7) to
promote cell migration and RIF [21]. These studies have showed the important role of Wnt/βcatenin pathway in the renal tubule. We hypothesized that Wnt/β-catenin pathway might be
involved in PTH-induced renal interstitial fibrosis. In the present study, we investigated whether Wnt/β-catenin pathway is involved in PTHinduced EMT in cultured human renal proximal
tubular cells.
dical Science, Beijing, China. The cells were
grown in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle Medium
(DMEM, Gibco, Germany)/F-12 supplemented
with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS), penicillin
and streptomycin, and maintained at 37°C in
humidified air with 5% CO2. HK-2 cells were
incubated with serum-free DMEM/F-12 for 24 h
before treatment with PTH (Sigma, USA). The
cells were treated with PTH for the indicated
period of time with or without dickkopf-related
protein 1 (DKK1, Peprotech, USA).
RNA interference
Sequences of β-catenin siRNA were designed
and synthesized by GenePharma, (Shanghai,
China). β-catenin siRNA contains 4 individual
siRNAs. β-catenin-siRNA-1: 5’- CUG CGG AAG
AUG GGA UCA ATT -3’ (sense) and 5’- UUG AUC
CCA UCU UCC GCA GTT -3’ (antisense). β-catenin-siRNA-2: 5’- GGA GAG UAC AUU UGC UUU
ATT -3’ (sense) and 5’- UAA AGC AAA UGU ACU
CUC CTT -3’ (antisense). β-catenin-siRNA-3: 5’CCU CUU UGU AGC UCC UAU ATT -3’ (sense) and
5’- UAU AGG AGC UAC AAA GAG GTT -3’ (antisense). β-catenin-siRNA-4: 5’- GGC UCC AUA
UUU CAA CUA ATT -3’ (sense) and 5’- UUA GUU
GAA AUA UGG AGC CTT -3’ (antisense). The negative control siRNA was also purchased from
GenePharma. The cells were transfected with
β-catenin siRNA or negative control siRNA using
Lipofectamine 2000 (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA,
USA) according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
Plasmid construction and transfection
To generate the Wnt4 expression vector, the
open reading frame of human Wnt4 cDNA was
cloned into the eukaryotic expression vector
pcDNA 3.1. The primers used for the amplification of the open-reading frame of the Wnt4
cDNA were CTTAAGCTTGCCGCCACCATGAGT (forward primer) and TGTGAATTCTCATCGGCACGTGTGCA (reverse primer). For transient transfection, the cells were transfected with pcDNA
3.1 vector or pcDNA 3.1-Wnt4 at about 80%
confluence using the Lipofectamine™2000 (Invitrogen, San Diego, CA, USA) reagent according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Materials and methods
Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR)
Cell culture and treatment
Following treatment, cells were harvested and
total RNA was immediately extracted using TRIzol reagent (Invitrogen) according to the manufacture’s instructions. For expression analysis
Human kidney proximal tubular cell line HK-2
was obtained from the Institute of Basic Me5979
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
body dissolved in block
solution at 4°C overnight.
Gene name Accession Sequence (5’-3’)
Product size (bp)
The proteins were probed
E-cadherin NM_004360 F: CCAAAGCCTCAGGTCATAAACA
126
by antibody against TGFR: TTCTTGGGTTGGGTCGTTGTAC
β1, E-cadherin, α-smooth
α-SMA
NM_001613 F: CTGTTCCAGCCATCCTTCAT
70
muscle actin (α-SMA), β-caR: TCATGATGCTGTTGTAGGTGGT
tenin or GAPDH. After waGAPDH
NM_002046 F: TGTTGCCATCAATGACCCCTT
202
shing, the membrane was
incubated with horseradR: CTCCACGACGTACTCAGCG
ish peroxidase-conjugated
secondary antibody correof α-SMA and E-cadherin genes, two μg of total
sponding to the primary antibody for 1 h at
RNA was used to synthesize first strand DNA
room temperature, and visualized with using
with reverse transcriptase according to the
ECL at RT following the washing step. The relamanufacturer’s protocol (Promega). Quantitatitive protein levels were determined by densive RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed with a
tometry of the bands with Sxlmage software
Green PCR Master Mix Kit (Shanghai, Shine
(Shanghai, China).
Co., China). Breifly, one microliter of first strand
Immunofluorescence staining
cDNA and gene specific primers were used
along with Hostart Fluo-PCR Mix in a 20 μL
After PTH treatment, cells were fixed and perreaction under the following conditions: premeated with 4% paraformaldehyde for 10, foldenaturation at 95°C for 5 min, 35 cycles of
lowed by blocking in 10% normal goat serum
denaturation at 95°C for 10 sec, annealing at
for 20 min at RT, and then incubated with the
57°C for 15 sec, and extension at 72°C for 20
primary antibody for 2 h at 37°C. After washing,
sec. Each sample was performed in triplicate
the slides were incubated with FITC/TRITC-coand was quantified based on the formula
njugated secondary antibody, followed by nuc2-ΔC’T. The primer pairs for qRT-PCR are listed
lear counterstaining with DAPI for 5 min. Cells
in Table 1.
were visualized under a fluorescence microscHuman Wnt signaling pathway plus RT2 profiler
ope and photographs were recorded.
PCR array
Statistical analysis
For the analysis of Wnt signaling pathway relatData were expressed as mean ± SEM of 3 indeed genes involved in PTH-induced EMT, human
pendent experiments, and t-test and variance
Wnt signaling pathway plus RT2 Profiler PCR
analysis were conducted using the statistical
Array was employed (OIAGEN). cDNA was syn2
software SPSS12.0. Each treatment group was
thesized using RT First Strand Kit (Qiagen) and
compared with the control group with Dunnett’s
samples analyzed for expression of 84 genes
2
t-test, and P-value less than 0.05 was considinvolved in PTH-induced EMT by RT Profiler
ered significant.
PCR Array. The data analysis was performed
based on the ΔΔCT method to calculate the ΔCt
Results
for each pathway and for each gene across two
Table 1. Primer pairs for qRT-PCR
PCR arrays. The fold-change for each gene was
calculated as 2-ΔΔCT.
Western blotting
PTH induces morphological changes and gene
expression characteristic of EMT in cultured
HK-2 cells
After PTH treatment, cells were lysed in icecold RIPA lysis buffer. Lysates were centrifuged
at 13200 rpm for 20 min at 4°C to obtain the
proteins, and then protein concentration was
determined by Lowry assay with modification.
The protein lysates were separated by SDSPAGE and then transferred to PVDF membrane
(Millipore). The membranes were blocked with
5% non-fat milk solution for 1 h at room temperature (RT) and incubated in primary anti-
The EMT-associated properties of HK-2 cells
after PTH treatment were observed under our
culture conditions. Stimulation of HK-2 cells
with PTH induced a change of morphology consistent with EMT (Figure 1A). PTH also significantly reduced E-cadherin mRNA levels while
simultaneously increasing expression of α-SMA
in a time-dependent manner (Figure 1B). To
confirm these mRNA changes, we assessed the
effects of PTH on E-cadherin and α-SMA pro-
5980
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
tein levels in HK-2 cells. The results showed
that E-cadherin protein levels fell within 12 h of
incubation with PTH, while α-SMA protein
increased 24 h after PTH treatment (Figure
1C). The loss of expression of E-cadherin and
the increase of expression of α-SMA were also
confirmed by immunofluorescence (Figure 1D).
As one of the most important cytokines leading
to EMT, TGF-β1 can promote and regulate renal
tubular EMT under pathological condition. Our
results showed that TGF-β1 protein increased
in a time-dependent manner after PTH treat-
5981
ment, which imply that PTH may amplify its
stimulatory effect through inducing the expression of TGF-β1 (Figure 1E and 1F). Taken
together, these results demonstrated that PTH
could induce EMT in cultured HK-2 cells.
Wnt/β-catenin pathway is required for PTHinduced EMT in HK-2 cells
As many studies suggested that Wnt/β-catenin
signal pathway involved in EMT, we investigated
whether the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
Figure 1. EMT was induced by PTH. (A) HK-2 cells were cultured in medium with or without 10-10 M PTH for 48 h.
Cellular morphology was photographed by phase contrast microscope. (B) HK-2 cells were exposed to 10-10 M PTH
for 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 h. The mRNA expression of E-cadherin and α-SMA were quantified by qRT-PCR. GAPDH
was used as an internal control. Results are expression as the mean ± SE (*P < 0.05, **P < 0.01 compared with
control). (C) HK-2 cells were treated as (B). Cell lysates were prepared, and the protein expression of E-cadherin
and α-SMA was detected using western blotting with anti-E-cadherin antibody and anti-α-SMA antibody. GAPDH
was used as an internal control. (D) The loss of expression of E-cadherin and the increase of expression of α-SMA
were confirmed by immunofluorescence. (E, F) HK-2 cells were treated as B. The protein expression of TGF-β1 was
detected by western blotting. GAPDH was used as an internal control. Results are expression as the mean ± SE (*P
< 0.05, **P < 0.01 compared with control).
involved in PTH-induced EMT of HK-2 cells.
β-catenin expression was suppressed using
siRNA. Two days following the transfection with
β-catenin siRNA, the level of β-catenin expression was reduced by ~70% as compared with
the cells transfected with negative control
siRNA (Figure 2A and 2B). After PTH treatment,
control cells expressing negative control siRNA
showed decreased expression of E-cadherin
and increased expression of α-SMA during
EMT. Cells transiently transfected with β-catenin siRNA exhibited increased expression of
E-cadherin and decreased expression of α-SMA
in contrast to negative control siRNA cells
(Figure 2C and 2D), suggesting the activity of
Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway may be responsible for PTH-induced EMT. Then, DKK1, an
antagonist of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, was used to further confirm the role of
Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway in PTH-induced
EMT in HK-2 cells. After PTH treatment, the
expression of E-cadherin decreased, and the
expression of α-SMA increased. However, the
expression of E-cadherin was upregulated amd
and α-SMA downregulated in cell treated with
PTH plus DKK1, when compared with cells
treated with PTH alone, suggesting DKK1 inhibits PTH induction mediated by Wnt/β-catenin
signal pathway (Figure 2E and 2F). Taken together, the results indicated that PTH-induced
5982
EMT in HK-2 cells is mediated by Wnt/β-catenin
signal pathway.
Wnt/β-catenin pathway related gene expression profile in HK-2 cells after PTH induction
To gain further insight into the role of Wnt/βcatenin in PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells, the
expression profiles of PTH-treated HK-2 cells
were compared to that of control group using
human Wnt signaling pathway plus RT2 Profiler
PCR Array, which contain 84 genes related to
Wnt-mediated signal transduction. Using filtering criteria of a 2.0 or greater fold-change in
expression, we analyzed the differentially expressed genes in the two types of cells. Of the 84
genes examined, 27 showed a > 2.0-fold change in expression: 18 up-regulated and 9 downregulated genes (Table 2). Positive regulators
include CSNK2A1, DAAM1, DKK1, FRAT1,
FZD3, FZD6, MMP7, MYC, NKD1, RHOA, SFRP1,
VANGL2, WISP1, WNT1, WNT10A, WNT16,
WNT2B and WNT4, while negative reugulators
have APC, FZD5, FZD9, PPARD, SFRP4, SOX17,
TCF7, WNT5A and WNT7B.
Overexpression of Wnt4 promote PTH-induced
EMT in HK-2 cells
HK-2 cells were transfected with the pcDNA3.1Wnt for Wnt overexpression. The result showed
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
Figure 2. Wnt/β-catenin pathway is required for PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cells. A, B. HK-2 cells were transfected
with β-catenin siRNA or negative control siRNA (NC siRNA). After transfection for 48 h, cells were collected and
β-catenin expression was revealed by western blot. GAPDH from the same loading was used as control. Data shown
are means ± SEM from three independent cell preparations, **P < 0.01. C, D. Control siRNA and β-catenin siRNA
cells were treated without or with PTH for 48 h. Blots were probed with antibodies for E-cadherin, α-SMA, and
β-catenin. GAPDH from the same loading was used as control. Results are expression as the mean ± SE. E, F. After
treatment for 48 h with PTH with or without DKK1, cells were collected and cell lysates were prepared. The protein
expression of E-cadherin and α-SMA was detected using western blotting with anti-E-cadherin antibody and anti-αSMA antibody. GAPDH was used as an internal control. Results are expression as the mean ± SE.
that the expression of Wnt in cells transfected
with pcDNA3.1-Wnt4 is higher than that in the
5983
cells transfected with pcDNA3.1 vector. After
PTH treatment, the cells expressing pcDNA3.1
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
Table 2. Wnt/β-catenin pathway related gene expression differences in HK-2 cells after PTH treatment
#
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
Gene Bank
Symbol Gene description
Fold up/down
NM_001895 CSNK2A1 Casein kinase 2, alpha 1 polypeptide
+2.39
NM_014992 DAAM1 Disheveled associated activator of morphogenesis 1
+3.13
NM_012242
DKK1 Dickkopf WNT signaling pathway inhibitor 1
+2.27
NM_005479 FRAT1 Frequently rearranged in advanced T-cell lymphomas 1
+2.09
NM_017412
FZD3
Frizzled class receptor 3
+2.89
NM_003506
FZD6
Frizzled class receptor 6
+2.06
NM_002423 MMP7 Matrix metallopeptidase 7
+2.20
NM_002467
MYC
V-myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog
+2.64
NM_033119
NKD1 Naked cuticle homolog 1
+3.92
NM_001664
RHOA Ras homolog family member A
+2.56
NM_003012 SFRP1 Secreted frizzled-related protein 1
+6.17
NM_020335 VANGL2 VANGL planar cell polarity protein 2
+2.20
NM_003882 WISP1 WNT1 inducible signaling pathway protein 1
+2.01
NM_005430 WNT1 Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 1
+2.19
NM_025216 WNT10A Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 10A
+2.45
NM_057168 WNT16 Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 16
+2.55
NM_004185 WNT2B Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 2B
+2.10
NM_030761
WNT4 Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 4
+2.08
NM_000038
APC
Adenomatous polyposis coil
-2.41
NM_003468
FZD5
Frizzled class receptor 5
-2.38
NM_003508
FZD9
Frizzled class receptor 9
-3.24
NM_006238 PPARD Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta
-2.33
NM_003014 SFRP4 Secreted frizzled-related protein 4
-3.89
NM_022454 SOX17 SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 17
-2.11
NM_003202
TCF7
Transcription factor 7 (T-cell specific, HMG-box)
-7.09
NM_003392 WNT5A Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 5A
-2.11
NM_058238 WNT7B Wingless-type MMTV integration site family, member 7B
-3.50
vector showed decreased of E-cadherin and
increased expression of α-SMA during EMT. The
cells transiently transfected with pcDNA3.1Wnt4 exhibited decreased expression of E-cadherin and increased expression of α-SMA in
contrast to the cells expressing pcDNA3.1 vector (Figure 3). The result indicated the up-regulation of Wnt promotes PTH-induced EMT, suggesting Wnt4 is important for PTH-induced EMT
mediated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Discussion
A number of investigations into the molecular
events of EMT in renal fibrosis have paved the
way for the design of improved specific therapies. In the present study, we investigated the
role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced
EMT and determined the profile of gene expression associated with PTH-induced EMT, which
5984
P value
0.015011
0.001121
0.008531
0.000127
0.002186
0.000127
0.000004
0.021895
0.000101
0.013018
0.000027
0.000582
0.000017
0.001214
0.008442
0.000142
0.000392
0.000138
0.000087
0.000127
0.001747
0.005087
0.005834
0.002714
0.001325
0.002027
0.001124
broaden knowledge of the precise molecular
mechanism mediating PTH-induced EMT, which
is important for developing strategies to inhibit
or reverse EMT in renal fibrosis.
As a conservative transduction pathway in the
evolutionary process, the Wnts widely affects
many physiological and pathological processes
[22]. Wnt ligands could elicit distinct subcellular events based on the environment. Upon
binding of the Wnt ligand to its receptor, there
are several distinct signal transduction cascades that can be grouped as the canonical
Wnt pathway, the Wnt-Ca2+ pathway, and the
Wnt planar cell polarity pathway [23-25]. The
canonical Wnt pathway (Wnt/β-catenin pathway) is silenced in normal kidney, while it is
activated in diseased adult kidney [26]. In Wnt/
β-catenin pathway, Wnt binds to its receptors
Frizzled and low density lipoprotein receptor-
Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
interstitial β-catenin is activated under renal
pathological condition, which plays a key role in
cell-cell adhesion. These results suggest that
Wnt proteins may be involved in renal fibrosis
by modulating EMT. In addition to participation
in renal interstitial fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy, Wnt/β-catenin is also involved in renal fibrosis diseases caused by a variety of kidney transplantation and diabetic nephropathy
[30, 31]. Our study demonstrated that Wnt/βcatenin pathway is required for PTH-induced
EMT, suggesting PTH may promote renal interstitial fibrosis through Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
Figure 3. Overexpression of WNT4 promote PTH-induced EMT in HK-2 cell. Cells transfected with pcDNA
3.1 vector or pcDNA 3.1-Wnt4 were treated without
or with PTH for 48 h. Blots were probed with antibodies for E-cadherin, α-SMA, and Wnt4. GAPDH from
the same loading was used as control. Results are
expression as the mean ± SE.
related protein (LRP) that results in activation
and phosphorylation of LRP. Activated LRP6
recruits Dishvelled and Axin and then inhibits
glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β)-mediated phosphorylation and proteosomal degradation of β-catenin. β-catenin accumulates in
the nucleus and regulates gene expression
through transcription factor T cell factor (TCF)
and/or lymphoid enhancer factor (LEF) [27, 28].
In the obstructive nephropathy model of renal
fibrosis, Nguyen et al. found that obstruction
induced during metanephrogenesis disrupts
the normal pattern of Wnt-4, -7b and -11 expressions and interferes with the normal transformation process in developing kidneys, by maintaining the mesenchymal component and inducing the transformation of epithelium to mesenchyme [19]. Then Surendran et al. demonstrated that Wnt-dependent β-catenin signaling
increases along with increased expression of
markers of fibrosis unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) [29]. Renal tubular epithelial and
5985
The Wnts, Fzd receptors and target genes creat
a complex network of signaling system, so a
comprehensive analysis of the expression of all
members of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is very
important to understand the molecular mechanisms. In the unilateral ureteral obstruction
model of renal fibrosis, Bienz et al found that
the expression levels of Wnt (1, 2, 2b, 3, 3a, 4,
5a, 6, 7a, 7b, 8a, 9a, 16), FZD (3, 10), DKK (1,
3, 4), Twist were upregulated [32]. He et al.
showed that, except for Wnt5b, Wnt8b, and
Wnt9b, all members of Wnt family genes were
upregulated [17]. In this study, we also performed a comprehensive analysis of the expression and regulation of Wnts and their receptors
and antagonists in HK-2 cells after PTH treatment. We demonstrated that DKK1, FZD3,
MMP7, Wnt1, Wnt16, Wnt2B and Wnt4 were
upregulated in HK-2 cells after PTH treatment,
which were consistent with the previous studies, suggesting PTH-induced EMT are caused
by combined action of these proteins.
Wnt4 is a secreted glycoprotein that is critical
for nephrogenesis [33]. In some experimental
models, Wnt4 has been demonstrated to plays
a role during regeneration process in acute
renal failure. On the other hand, during experimental renal injury, some evidence showed
that Wnt4 participates in renal fibrosis.
Therefore, when will Wnt4 have a protective
role or when will induce fibrosis depends on the
specific cellular context. The result here showed
that the up-regulation of Wnt4 promotes PTHinduced EMT that was consistent with the
induction of Wnt4 in fibrosis, indicating that
Wnt4 might be a key gene during PTH-induced
EMT.
In conclusion, we demonstrated that Wnt/βcatenin pathway is involved in regulating PTHInt J Clin Exp Pathol 2014;7(9):5978-5987
Role of Wnt/β-catenin pathway in PTH-induced EMT
induced EMT in human renal proximal tubular
cells, implicating that Wnt/β-catenin pathway is
required for EMT induced by PTH. Wnt4 might
be a key gene during PTH-induced EMT. These
findings provide significant insights into the role
and mechanisms of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in
renal fibrogenesis and offer a new strategy in
developing therapeutic modalities for the treatment of fibrotic kidney diseases.
Acknowledgements
This study was supported by Chinese Post-doctoral Scientific Foundation (No. 2012M52
1928) and Shandong Provicial outstanding
young scientist fund (No. BS2012YY041).
Disclosure of conflict of interest
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]
[11]
None.
Address correspondence to: Dr. Weijie Yuan, Department of Nephrology, Shanghai Jiaotong University
Affiliated First People’s Hospital, 85 Wu Jin Road,
Shanghai 200080, China. E-mail: [email protected]
com; Yanxia Wang, Department of Nephrology,
General Hospital of Ji’nan Military Command, Ji’nan
250031, China. Tel: +86-531-51665022; Fax: +86531-51665022; E-mail: [email protected]
[12]
[13]
[14]
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