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1.  Basement Membrane Zone Collagens XV and XVIII/Proteoglycans Mediate Leukocyte Influx in Renal Ischemia/Reperfusion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106732.
Collagen type XV and XVIII are proteoglycans found in the basement membrane zones of endothelial and epithelial cells, and known for their cryptic anti-angiogenic domains named restin and endostatin, respectively. Mutations or deletions of these collagens are associated with eye, muscle and microvessel phenotypes. We now describe a novel role for these collagens, namely a supportive role in leukocyte recruitment. We subjected mice deficient in collagen XV or collagen XVIII, and their compound mutant, as well as the wild-type control mice to bilateral renal ischemia/reperfusion, and evaluated renal function, tubular injury, and neutrophil and macrophage influx at different time points after ischemia/reperfusion. Five days after ischemia/reperfusion, the collagen XV, collagen XVIII and the compound mutant mice showed diminished serum urea levels compared to wild-type mice (all p<0.05). Histology showed reduced tubular damage, and decreased inflammatory cell influx in all mutant mice, which were more pronounced in the compound mutant despite increased expression of MCP-1 and TNF-╬▒ in double mutant mice compared to wildtype mice. Both type XV and type XVIII collagen bear glycosaminoglycan side chains and an in vitro approach with recombinant collagen XVIII fragments with variable glycanation indicated a role for these side chains in leukocyte migration. Thus, basement membrane zone collagen/proteoglycan hybrids facilitate leukocyte influx and tubular damage after renal ischemia/reperfusion and might be potential intervention targets for the reduction of inflammation in this condition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106732
PMCID: PMC4154753  PMID: 25188209
2.  Differential Expression of Proteoglycans in Tissue Remodeling and Lymphangiogenesis after Experimental Renal Transplantation in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9095.
Background
Chronic transplant dysfunction explains the majority of late renal allograft loss and is accompanied by extensive tissue remodeling leading to transplant vasculopathy, glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. Matrix proteoglycans mediate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and play key roles in tissue remodeling. The aim of this study was to characterize differential heparan sulfate proteoglycan and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan expression in transplant vasculopathy, glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis in renal allografts with chronic transplant dysfunction.
Methods
Renal allografts were transplanted in the Dark Agouti-to-Wistar Furth rat strain combination. Dark Agouti-to-Dark Agouti isografts and non-transplanted Dark Agouti kidneys served as controls. Allograft and isograft recipients were sacrificed 66 and 81 days (mean) after transplantation, respectively. Heparan sulfate proteoglycan (collXVIII, perlecan and agrin) and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (versican) expression, as well as CD31 and LYVE-1 (vascular and lymphatic endothelium, respectively) expression were (semi-) quantitatively analyzed using immunofluorescence.
Findings
Arteries with transplant vasculopathy and sclerotic glomeruli in allografts displayed pronounced neo-expression of collXVIII and perlecan. In contrast, in interstitial fibrosis expression of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan versican dominated. In the cortical tubular basement membranes in both iso- and allografts, induction of collXVIII was detected. Allografts presented extensive lymphangiogenesis (p<0.01 compared to isografts and non-transplanted controls), which was associated with induced perlecan expression underneath the lymphatic endothelium (p<0.05 and p<0.01 compared to isografts and non-transplanted controls, respectively). Both the magnitude of lymphangiogenesis and perlecan expression correlated with severity of interstitial fibrosis and impaired graft function.
Interpretation
Our results reveal that changes in the extent of expression and the type of proteoglycans being expressed are tightly associated with tissue remodeling after renal transplantation. Therefore, proteoglycans might be potential targets for clinical intervention in renal chronic transplant dysfunction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009095
PMCID: PMC2816722  PMID: 20140097

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