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author:("seelens, Marc")
2.  Strong predictive value of mannose-binding lectin levels for cardiovascular risk of hemodialysis patients 
Hemodialysis patients have higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared to the general population. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) plays an important role in the development of cardiovascular disease. In addition, hemodialysis alters MBL concentration and functional activity. The present study determines the predictive value of MBL levels for future cardiac events (C-event), cardiovascular events (CV-event) and all-cause mortality in HD patients.
We conducted a prospective study of 107 patients on maintenance hemodialysis. Plasma MBL, properdin, C3d and sC5b-9 was measured before and after one dialysis session. The association with future C-events, CV-events, and all-cause mortality was evaluated using Cox regression models.
During median follow-up of 27 months, 36 participants developed 21 C-events and 36 CV-events, whereas 37 patients died. The incidence of C-events and CV-events was significantly higher in patients with low MBL levels (<319 ng/mL, lower quartile). In fully adjusted models, low MBL level was independently associated with increased CV-events (hazard ratio 3.98; 95 % CI 1.88–8.24; P < 0.001) and C-events (hazard ratio 3.96; 95 % CI 1.49–10.54; P = 0.006). No association was found between low MBL levels and all-cause mortality. Furthermore, MBL substantially improved risk prediction for CV-events beyond currently used clinical markers.
Low MBL levels are associated with a higher risk for future C-events and CV-events. Therefore, MBL levels may help to identify hemodialysis patients who are at risk to develop cardiovascular disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-016-0995-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4974702  PMID: 27495980
Complement; MBL; Cardiovascular; Risk; Hemodialysis
3.  Functional Studies on Primary Tubular Epithelial Cells Indicate a Tumor Suppressor Role of SETD2 in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2016;18(6):339-346.
SET domain-containing 2 (SETD2) is responsible for the trimethylation of histone H3 lysine36 (H3K36me3) and is one of the genes most frequently mutated in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). It is located at 3p21, one copy of which is lost in the majority of ccRCC tumors, suggesting that SETD2 might function as a tumor suppressor gene. However, the manner in which loss of SETD2 contributes to ccRCC development has not been studied in renal primary tubular epithelial cells (PTECs). Therefore, we studied the consequences of SETD2 knockdown through lentiviral shRNA in human PTECs. Consistent with its known function, SETD2 knockdown (SETD-KD) led to loss of H3K36me3 in PTECs. In contrast to SETD2 wild-type PTECs, which have a limited proliferation capacity; the SETD2-KD PTECs continued to proliferate. The expression profiles of SETD2-KD PTECs showed a large overlap with the expression profile of early-passage, proliferating PTECs, whereas nonproliferating PTECs showed a significantly different expression profile. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed a significant enrichment of E2F targets in SETD2-KD and proliferating PTECs as compared with nonproliferating PTECs and in proliferating PTEC compared with SETD2-KD. The SETD2-KD PTECs maintained low expression of CDKN2A and high expression of E2F1, whereas their levels changed with continuing passages in untreated PTECs. In contrast to the nonproliferating PTECs, SETD2-KD PTECs showed no β-galactosidase staining, confirming the protection against senescence. Our results indicate that SETD2 inactivation enables PTECs to bypass the senescence barrier, facilitating a malignant transformation toward ccRCC.
PMCID: PMC4916950  PMID: 27292023
5.  Gradual Rewarming with Gradual Increase in Pressure during Machine Perfusion after Cold Static Preservation Reduces Kidney Ischemia Reperfusion Injury 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0143859.
In this study we evaluated whether gradual rewarming after the period of cold ischemia would improve organ quality in an Isolated Perfused Kidney Model. Left rat kidneys were statically cold stored in University of Wisconsin solution for 24 hours at 4°C. After cold storage kidneys were rewarmed in one of three ways: perfusion at body temperature (38°C), or rewarmed gradually from 10°C to 38°C with stabilization at 10°C for 30 min and rewarmed gradually from 10°C to 38°C with stabilization at 25°C for 30 min. In the gradual rewarming groups the pressure was increased stepwise to 40 mmHg at 10°C and 70 mmHg at 25°C to counteract for vasodilatation leading to low perfusate flows. Renal function parameters and injury biomarkers were measured in perfusate and urine samples. Increases in injury biomarkers such as aspartate transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase in the perfusate were lower in the gradual rewarming groups versus the control group. Sodium re-absorption was improved in the gradual rewarming groups and reached significance in the 25°C group after ninety minutes of perfusion. HSP-70, ICAM-1, VCAM-1 mRNA expressions were decreased in the 10°C and 25°C groups. Based on the data kidneys that underwent gradual rewarming suffered less renal parenchymal, tubular injury and showed better endothelial preservation. Renal function improved in the gradual rewarming groups versus the control group.
PMCID: PMC4667888  PMID: 26630031
6.  Toll-Like Receptor Family Polymorphisms Are Associated with Primary Renal Diseases but Not with Renal Outcomes Following Kidney Transplantation 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139769.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a crucial role in innate- and adaptive immunity. The TLR pathways were shown to play key functional roles in experimental acute and chronic kidney injury, including the allo-immune response after experimental renal transplantation. Data about the precise impact of TLRs and their negative regulators on human renal transplant outcomes however are limited and contradictory. We studied twelve non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of which eleven in TLR1-8 and one in SIGIRR in a final cohort comprising 1116 matching donors and recipients. TLR3 p.Leu412Phe and SIGIRR p.Gln312Arg significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and were excluded. The frequency distribution of the minor alleles of the remaining 10 TLR variants were compared between patients with end-stage renal disease (recipients) and controls (kidney donors) in a case-control study. Secondly, the associations between the minor allele frequency of the TLR variants and delayed graft function, biopsy-proven acute rejection and death-censored graft failure after transplantation were investigated with Cox regression. Carrier frequencies of the minor alleles of TLR1 p.His305Leu (OR = 4.79, 95% CI = 2.35–9.75, P = 0.0002), TLR1 p.Asn248Ser (OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.07–1.47, P = 0.04) and TLR8 p.Met1Val (OR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.14–1.64, P = 0.008) were significantly higher in patients with ESRD, with little specificity for the underlying renal disease entity (adjusted for age, gender and donor-recipient relatedness). The minor allele frequency of none of the TLR variants significantly associated with the surrogate and definite outcomes, even when multivariable models were created that could account for TLR gene redundancy. In conclusion, genetic variants in TLR genes were associated with the prevalence of ESRD but not renal transplant outcomes. Therefore, our data suggests that specific TLR signaling routes might play a role in the final common pathway of primary renal injury. A role for TLR signaling in the context of renal transplantation is probably limited.
PMCID: PMC4596574  PMID: 26445497
7.  Genetic loci influencing kidney function and chronic kidney disease in man 
Chambers, John C | Zhang, Weihua | Lord, Graham M | van der Harst, Pim | Lawlor, Debbie A | Sehmi, Joban S | Gale, Daniel P | Wass, Mark N | Ahmadi, Kourosh R | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beckmann, Jacqui | Bilo, Henk JG | Bochud, Murielle | Brown, Morris J | Caulfield, Mark J | Connell, John M C | Cook, Terence | Cotlarciuc, Ioana | Smith, George Davey | de Silva, Ranil | Deng, Guohong | Devuyst, Olivier | Dikkeschei, Lambert D. | Dimkovic, Nada | Dockrell, Mark | Dominiczak, Anna | Ebrahim, Shah | Eggermann, Thomas | Farrall, Martin | Ferrucci, Luigi | Floege, Jurgen | Forouhi, Nita G | Gansevoort, Ron T | Han, Xijin | Hedblad, Bo | van der Heide, Jaap J Homan | Hepkema, Bouke G | Hernandez-Fuentes, Maria | Hypponen, Elina | Johnson, Toby | de Jong, Paul E | Kleefstra, Nanne | Lagou, Vasiliki | Lapsley, Marta | Li, Yun | Loos, Ruth J F | Luan, Jian'an | Luttropp, Karin | Maréchal, Céline | Melander, Olle | Munroe, Patricia B | Nordfors, Louise | Parsa, Afshin | Penninx, Brenda W. | Perucha, Esperanza | Pouta, Anneli | Prokopenko, Inga | Roderick, Paul J | Ruokonen, Aimo | Samani, Nilesh | Sanna, Serena | Schalling, Martin | Schlessinger, David | Schlieper, Georg | Seelen, Marc AJ | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sjögren, Marketa | Smit, Johannes H. | Snieder, Harold | Soranzo, Nicole | Spector, Timothy D | Stenvinkel, Peter | Sternberg, Michael JE | Swaminathan, Ramasamyiyer | Tanaka, Toshiko | Ubink-Veltmaat, Lielith J. | Uda, Manuela | Vollenweider, Peter | Wallace, Chris | Waterworth, Dawn | Zerres, Klaus | Waeber, Gerard | Wareham, Nicholas J | Maxwell, Patrick H | McCarthy, Mark I | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Mooser, Vincent | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Lightstone, Liz | Scott, James | Navis, Gerjan | Elliott, Paul | Kooner., Jaspal S
Nature genetics  2010;42(5):373-375.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), the result of permanent loss of kidney function, is a major global problem. We identify common genetic variants at chr2p12-p13, chr6q26, chr17q23 and chr19q13 associated with serum creatinine, a marker of kidney function (P=10−10 to 10−15). SNPs rs10206899 (near NAT8, chr2p12-p13) and rs4805834 (near SLC7A9, chr19q13) were also associated with CKD. Our findings provide new insight into metabolic, solute and drug-transport pathways underlying susceptibility to CKD.
PMCID: PMC3748585  PMID: 20383145
8.  UMOD as a susceptibility gene for end-stage renal disease 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:78.
In recent genetic association studies, common variants including rs12917707 in the UMOD locus have shown strong evidence of association with eGFR, prevalent and incident chronic kidney disease and uromodulin urinary concentration in general population cohorts. The association of rs12917707 with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in a recent case-control study was only nominally significant.
To investigate whether rs12917707 associates with ESRD, graft failure (GF) and urinary uromodulin levels in an independent cohort, we genotyped 1142 ESRD patients receiving a renal transplantation and 1184 kidney donors as controls. After transplantation, 1066 renal transplant recipients were followed up for GF. Urinary uromodulin concentration was measured at median [IQR] 4.2 [2.2-6.1] yrs after kidney transplantation.
The rs12917707 minor allele showed association with lower risk of ESRD (OR 0.89 [0.76-1.03], p = 0.04) consistent in effect size and direction with the previous report (Böger et al, PLoS Genet 2011). Meta-analysis of these findings showed significant association of rs12917707 with ESRD (OR 0.91 [0.85-98], p = 0.008). In contrast, rs12917707 was not associated with incidence of GF. Urinary uromodulin concentration was lower in recipients-carriers of the donor rs12917707 minor allele as compared to non-carriers, again consistent with previous observations in general population cohorts.
Our study thus corroborates earlier evidence and independently confirms the association between UMOD and ESRD.
PMCID: PMC3495046  PMID: 22947327
UMOD; Uromodulin; Polymorphisms; SNP; End-stage renal disease; Kidney transplantation
9.  CUBN as a Novel Locus for End-Stage Renal Disease: Insights from Renal Transplantation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36512.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a complex disorder. As genome-wide association studies identified cubilin gene CUBN as a locus for albuminuria, and urinary protein loss is a risk factor for progressive CKD, we tested the hypothesis that common genetic variants in CUBN are associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and proteinuria. First, a total of 1142 patients with ESRD, admitted for renal transplantation, and 1186 donors were genotyped for SNPs rs7918972 and rs1801239 (case-control study). The rs7918972 minor allele frequency (MAF) was higher in ESRD patients comparing to kidney donors, implicating an increased risk for ESRD (OR 1.39, p = 0.0004) in native kidneys. Second, after transplantation recipients were followed for 5.8 [3.8–9.2] years (longitudinal study) documenting ESRD in transplanted kidneys – graft failure (GF). During post-transplant follow-up 92 (9.6%) cases of death-censored GF occurred. Donor rs7918972 MAF, representing genotype of the transplanted kidney, was 16.3% in GF vs 10.7% in cases with functioning graft. Consistently, a multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that donor rs7918972 is a predictor of GF, although statistical significance was not reached (HR 1.53, p = 0.055). There was no association of recipient rs7918972 with GF. Rs1801239 was not associated with ESRD or GF. In line with an association with the outcome, donor rs7918972 was associated with elevated proteinuria levels cross-sectionally at 1 year after transplantation. Thus, we identified CUBN rs7918972 as a novel risk variant for renal function loss in two independent settings: ESRD in native kidneys and GF in transplanted kidneys.
PMCID: PMC3344899  PMID: 22574174
10.  CCR5Δ32 Genotype Leads to a Th2 Type Directed Immune Response in ESRD Patients 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31257.
In patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) we observed protection from inflammation-associated mortality in CCR5Δ32 carriers, leading to CCR5 deficiency, suggesting impact of CCR5Δ32 on inflammatory processes. Animal studies have shown that CCR5 deficiency is associated with a more pronounced Th2 type immune response, suggesting that in human CCR5Δ32 carriers the immune response may be more Th2 type directed. So, in the present study we determined the Th1-Th2 type directed immune response in ESRD patients carrying and not carrying the CCR5Δ32 genetic variant after stimulation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We tested this hypothesis by determining the levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 and the distribution of Th1, Th2 and Th17 directed circulating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs) after stimulation in ESRD patients with (n = 10) and without (n = 9) the CCR5Δ32 genotype. The extracellular levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 did not differ between CCR5Δ32 carriers and non carriers. However, based on their intracellular cytokine profile the percentages IL-4 secreting CD4+ and CD8+ T cells carrying the CCR5Δ32 genotype were significantly increased (p = 0.02, respectively p = 0.02) compared to non carriers, indicating a more Th2 type directed response. Based on their intracellular cytokine profile the percentages IFN-γ and IL-17 secreting T cells did not differ between carriers and non-carriers nor did the percentage Tregs, indicating that the Th1, Th17 and T regulatory response was not affected by the CCR5Δ32 genotype.
This first, functional human study shows a more pronounced Th2 type immune response in CCR5Δ32 carriers compared to non carriers. These differences may be involved in the previously observed protection from inflammation-associated mortality in ESRD patients carrying CCR5Δ32.
PMCID: PMC3278436  PMID: 22348061
11.  Deficiency of functional mannose-binding lectin is not associated with infections in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Infection imposes a serious burden on patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The increased infection rate in SLE patients has been attributed in part to defects of immune defence. Recently, the lectin pathway of complement activation has also been suggested to play a role in the occurrence of infections in SLE. In previous studies, SLE patients homozygous for mannose-binding lectin (MBL) variant alleles were at an increased risk of acquiring serious infections in comparison with patients who were heterozygous or homozygous for the normal allele. This association suggests a correlation between functional MBL level and occurrence of infections in SLE patients. We therefore investigated the biological activity of MBL and its relationship with the occurrence of infections in patients with SLE. Demographic and clinical data were collected in 103 patients with SLE. Functional MBL serum levels and MBL-induced C4 deposition were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using mannan as coat and an MBL- or C4b-specific monoclonal antibody. The complete MBL-dependent pathway activity was determined by using an assay that measures the complete MBL pathway activity in serum, starting with binding of MBL to mannan, and was detected with a specific monoclonal antibody against C5b-9. Charts were systematically reviewed to obtain information on documented infections since diagnosis of SLE. Major infections were defined as infections requiring hospital admission and intravenous administration of antibiotics. In total, 115 infections since diagnosis of lupus, including 42 major infections, were documented in the 103 SLE patients (mean age 41 ± 13 years, mean disease duration 7 ± 4 years). The percentage of SLE patients with severe MBL deficiency was similar to that in 100 healthy controls: 13% versus 14%, respectively. Although deposition of C4 to mannan and MBL pathway activity were reduced in 21% and 43% of 103 SLE patients, respectively, neither functional MBL serum levels nor MBL pathway activity was associated with infections or major infections in regression analyses. In conclusion, SLE patients frequently suffer from infections, but deficiency of functional MBL does not confer additional risk.
PMCID: PMC1794530  PMID: 17166254
12.  Anti-C1q autoantibodies deposit in glomeruli but are only pathogenic in combination with glomerular C1q-containing immune complexes 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;114(5):679-688.
Anti-C1q autoantibodies are present in sera of patients with several autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Strikingly, in SLE the presence of anti-C1q is associated with the occurrence of nephritis. We have generated mouse anti–mouse C1q mAb’s and used murine models to investigate whether anti-C1q autoantibodies actually contribute to renal pathology in glomerular immune complex disease. Administration of anti-C1q mAb JL-1, which recognizes the collagen-like region of C1q, resulted in glomerular deposition of C1q and anti-C1q autoantibodies and mild granulocyte influx, but no overt renal damage. However, combination of JL-1 with a subnephritogenic dose of C1q-fixing anti–glomerular basement membrane (anti-GBM) antibodies enhanced renal damage characterized by persistently increased levels of infiltrating granulocytes, major histological changes, and increased albuminuria. This was not observed when a non–C1q-fixing anti-GBM preparation was used. Experiments with different knockout mice showed that renal damage was dependent not only on glomerular C1q and complement activation but also on Fcγ receptors. In conclusion, anti-C1q autoantibodies deposit in glomeruli together with C1q but induce overt renal disease only in the context of glomerular immune complex disease. This provides an explanation why anti-C1q antibodies are especially pathogenic in patients with SLE.
PMCID: PMC514584  PMID: 15343386

Results 1-12 (12)