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author:("sawairi, Toru")
1.  Follistatin, an Activin Antagonist, Ameliorates Renal Interstitial Fibrosis in a Rat Model of Unilateral Ureteral Obstruction 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:376191.
Activin, a member of the TGF-β superfamily, regulates cell growth and differentiation in various cell types. Activin A acts as a negative regulator of renal development as well as tubular regeneration after renal injury. However, it remains unknown whether activin A is involved in renal fibrosis. To clarify this issue, we utilized a rat model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). The expression of activin A was significantly increased in the UUO kidneys compared to that in contralateral kidneys. Activin A was detected in glomerular mesangial cells and interstitial fibroblasts in normal kidneys. In UUO kidneys, activin A was abundantly expressed by interstitial α-SMA-positive myofibroblasts. Administration of recombinant follistatin, an activin antagonist, reduced the fibrotic area in the UUO kidneys. The number of proliferating cells in the interstitium, but not in the tubules, was significantly lower in the follistatin-treated kidneys. Expression of α-SMA, deposition of type I collagen and fibronectin, and CD68-positive macrophage infiltration were significantly suppressed in the follistatin-treated kidneys. These data suggest that activin A produced by interstitial fibroblasts acts as a potent profibrotic factor during renal fibrosis. Blockade of activin A action may be a novel approach for the prevention of renal fibrosis progression.
doi:10.1155/2014/376191
PMCID: PMC4026945  PMID: 24883308
2.  TGF-beta1 reduces Wilms' tumor suppressor gene expression in podocytes 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;26(9):2746-2752.
Background. Wilms' tumor suppressor gene (WT1) is essential for normal podocyte function, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta contributes to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We aimed to address whether TGF-beta affects WT1 expression in podocytes.
Methods. A human podocyte cell line treated with TGF-beta1 and kidneys in Alb/TGF-beta1-transgenic mice were analyzed for WT1 expression.
Results. In cultured podocytes, TGF-beta1 reduced WT1 protein expression determined by western blotting beginning at 8 h and decreased WT1 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression measured by quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction beginning at 3 h. Knockdown of Smad4 by small hairpin (sh) RNA partially rescued the TGF-beta1-induced reduction of both WT1 protein and mRNA expressions in the cultured podocytes. TGF-beta1 did not alter luciferase activity of the reporter construct for a human WT1 promoter but reduced that for a human WT1 5′ enhancer construct, suggesting that TGF-beta1 may regulate WT1 expression by altering the 5′ enhancer activity. In the transgenic mice, WT1 protein expression in podocytes was decreased at 1 and 3 weeks of age, while glomeruloclerosis developed after 3 weeks.
Conclusion. TGF-beta1 reduces WT1 expression in cultured human podocytes and podocytes in mice before overt glomerulosclerosis begins. The effects are at least partially Smad4 dependent. Our findings identify a novel pathway linking TGF-beta1 to podocyte injury and FSGS. The WT1 reduction may be a useful marker for early podocyte injury.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfr061
PMCID: PMC3175051  PMID: 21378152
FSGS; podocytes; TGF-beta1; Wilms' tumor suppressor gene
3.  Tetracycline-Inducible Gene Expression in Conditionally Immortalized Mouse Podocytes 
American journal of nephrology  2008;29(3):153-163.
Background
Conditionally immortalized podocytes are valuable research tools but are difficult to efficiently transfect and do not provide graded transgene expression.
Methods
Conditionally immortalized mouse podocyte cell lines were established employing a tetracycline-inducible system. Glomerular cells, isolated from transgenic mice bearing two transgenes, NPHS2-reverse tetracycline-controlled transactivator, rtTA (A transgene) and H2-Kb-thermosensitive SV40 T, ts58A (I transgene), were cloned. One clone (AI podocytes) expressing WT1 and synaptopodin was transfected with pBI-EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein, G transgene) and separately with ptTS-Neo (transcriptional suppressor, T transgene) to produce stable transformants, AIG podocytes and AIT podocytes.
Results
AIG podocytes expressed EGFP at 33 and 37°C after doxycycline treatment, and retained podocin and rtTA mRNA expression and temperature-sensitive growth regulation. AIT podocytes, transiently transfected with luciferase-BI-EGFP (LG transgene), showed reduced background expression of EGFP and luciferase in the absence of doxycycline. In AITLG podocytes, generated by stable transfection of AIT podocytes with the LG transgene, luciferase expression was tightly regulated by doxycycline in a time- and concentration-dependent manner both at 33 and 37°C, although background expression was not entirely eliminated. These podocytes retained temperature-sensitive growth regulation and expression of podocyte differentiation markers.
Conclusion
Mouse podocytes expressed tetracycline-induced transgenes efficiently while retaining differentiation markers.
doi:10.1159/000151770
PMCID: PMC2698022  PMID: 18753740
Tetracycline-inducible system; Conditional immortalization; Transcription; Gene of interest
4.  Tetracycline-Inducible Gene Expression in Conditionally Immortalized Mouse Podocytes 
American Journal of Nephrology  2008;29(3):153-163.
Background
Conditionally immortalized podocytes are valuable research tools but are difficult to efficiently transfect and do not provide graded transgene expression.
Methods
Conditionally immortalized mouse podocyte cell lines were established employing a tetracycline-inducible system. Glomerular cells, isolated from transgenic mice bearing two transgenes, NPHS2-reverse tetracycline-controlled transactivator, rtTA (A transgene) and H2-Kb-thermosensitive SV40 T, ts58A (I transgene), were cloned. One clone (AI podocytes) expressing WT1 and synaptopodin was transfected with pBI-EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein, G transgene) and separately with ptTS-Neo (transcriptional suppressor, T transgene) to produce stable transformants, AIG podocytes and AIT podocytes.
Results
AIG podocytes expressed EGFP at 33 and 37°C after doxycycline treatment, and retained podocin and rtTA mRNA expression and temperature-sensitive growth regulation. AIT podocytes, transiently transfected with luciferase-BI-EGFP (LG transgene), showed reduced background expression of EGFP and luciferase in the absence of doxycycline. In AITLG podocytes, generated by stable transfection of AIT podocytes with the LG transgene, luciferase expression was tightly regulated by doxycycline in a time- and concentration-dependent manner both at 33 and 37°C, although background expression was not entirely eliminated. These podocytes retained temperature-sensitive growth regulation and expression of podocyte differentiation markers.
Conclusion
Mouse podocytes expressed tetracycline-induced transgenes efficiently while retaining differentiation markers.
doi:10.1159/000151770
PMCID: PMC2698022  PMID: 18753740
Tetracycline-inducible system; Conditional immortalization; Transcription; Gene of interest

Results 1-4 (4)