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1.  Glomerular and Tubular Epithelial Defects in kd/kd Mice Lead to Progressive Renal Failure 
American journal of nephrology  2005;25(6):604-610.
The kd/kd mouse spontaneously develops severe and progressive nephritis leading to renal failure, characterized by cellular infiltration, tubular destruction and glomerular sclerosis. Recent identification of the mutant gene and the observation that podocytes are affected, led to the hypothesis that there are primary renal epithelial cell defects in this strain.
Clinical and pathological signs of disease in a large cohort of kd/kd mice were studied by light microscopy, electron microscopy, and biochemical analyses of serum and urine at early stages of disease. Special attention was paid to mice under 140 days of age that had normal blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, but had developed albuminuria.
Although overt glomerular abnormalities are commonly observed either coincident with or after tubulointerstitial nephritis, we now report that albuminuria and visceral epithelial abnormalities, including hyperplasia and podocyte effacement may occur before the onset of either elevated BUN levels or severe interstitial nephritis, and this is accompanied by biochemical perturbations in serum typical of the nephrotic syndrome.
The results suggest that the defect in kd/kd mice primarily affects both the tubular and glomerular visceral epithelium. The tubular epithelial defect triggers autoimmune interstitial nephritis, whereas a defect in podocytes leads to proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. Thus, a single mitochondrial abnormality may result in differences in disease expression that vary with the type of epithelial cells. It is likely that the mitochrondrial perturbations in glomerular and tubular epithelia act in concert, through activation of different pathologic pathways, to accelerate disease progression leading to renal failure.
PMCID: PMC2254218  PMID: 16282678
Albuminuria; Gene; Glomerulus; Nephritis; Podocyte
2.  Cellular Transfection to Deliver Alanine-Glyoxylate Aminotransferase to Hepatocytes: A Rational Gene Therapy for Primary Hyperoxaluria-1 (PH-1) 
American journal of nephrology  2005;25(2):176-182.
Primary hyperoxaluria-type 1 (PH-1) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of glyoxalate metabolism caused by deficiency in the liver-specific peroxisomal enzyme alanine-glyoxalate transaminase 1 (AGT) resulting in the increased oxidation of glyoxalate to oxalate. Accumulation of oxalate in the kidney and other soft tissues results in loss of renal function and significant morbidity. The present treatment options offer some relief in the short term, but they are not completely successful. In the present study, we tested the feasibility of corrective gene therapy for this metabolic disorder.
A cDNA library was made from HepG2 cells. PCR primers were designed for the AGT sequence with modifications to preclude mistargeting during gene delivery. Amplified AGT cDNA was cloned as a fusion protein with green fluorescent protein (GFP) using the vector EGFP-C1 (Clontech) for monitoring subcellular distribution. Sequence and expression of the fusion protein was verified. Fusion protein vectors were transfected into hepatocytes by liposomal transfection. AGT expression and subcellular distribution was monitored by GFP fluorescence.
HepG2 cells express full-length mRNA coding for AGT as confirmed by insert size as well as sequence determination. Selective primers allowed us to generate a modified recombinant GFP-AGT fusion protein. Cellular transfections with Lipofectamine resulted in transfection efficiencies of 60–90%. The recombinant AGT did localize to peroxisomes as monitored by GFP fluorescence.
The results demonstrate preliminary in vitro feasibility data for AGT transfection into the hepatocytes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to attempt recombinant AGT gene therapy for treatment of primary hyperoxaluria-1.
PMCID: PMC1242120  PMID: 15849465
AGT; Gene therapy; Green fluorescent fusion protein; Peroxisomal targeting; Primary hyperoxaluria

Results 1-2 (2)