Surfactant protein A (SP-A), encoded by two functional genes, SP-A1 and SP-A2, is essential for the inflammatory process and host defence in the lungs. Recent studies have demonstrated the extrapulmonary expression of SP-A. Similar to the lungs, the kidneys are organs exposed to external pathogens. The present study evaluated the expression and location of SP-A in the kidneys. The effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the expression of SP-A subtypes was also studied in renal tubular epithelial (HK-2) cells.
Immunohistochemical staining was performed using polyclonal antibody against SP-A. RT-PCR was also performed using mRNA from normal human renal tissues and HK-2 cells. The expressions of the SP-A1 and SP-A2 genes were determined by PCR-based RFLP analysis, gene-specific amplification, and direct sequencing of RT-PCR products. Western blot was conducted to analyse the SP-A protein. HK-2 cells were treated with LPS at various concentrations (0, 0.1, 1, 2, 5, and 10 μg/mL) for 8 h and at 5 μg/mL at various time points (0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 24 h). The LPS-induced expressions of SP-A1 and SP-A2 mRNA and protein were analysed by RT-PCR and Western blot.
SP-A was localised in the renal tubular epithelial cells in the proximal and distal convoluted tubules. SP-A1 and SP-A2 mRNA and protein were expressed in HK-2 cells and human renal tissues, which were significantly increased in time- and dose-dependent manners after LPS treatment (P < 0.05).
Human renal tubular epithelial cells can express both SP-A1 and SP-A2 genes, which may play important roles in the inflammatory modulation of the kidney.