Reduction of VEGF-A and CTGF expression in diabetic nephropathy is associated with podocyte loss

Baelde, H. J.; Eikmans, M.; Lappin, D. W. P.; Doran, P. P.; Hohenadel, D.; Brinkkoetter, P.-T.; van der Woude, F. J.; Waldherr, R.; Rabelink, T. J.; de Heer, E.; Bruijn, J. A.
April 2007
Kidney International;Apr2007, Vol. 71 Issue 7, p637
Academic Journal
Micro-vascular and renal complications in diabetic patients are a considerable clinical challenge. In a previous study, we found a significant decrease in vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) mRNA levels in glomeruli from patients with diabetic nephropathy (DN). We now set out to investigate the relationship between reduced VEGF-A and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression levels, the number of podocytes, and the extent of interstitial fibrosis. Laser capture microdissection was applied to obtain glomerular RNA from 28 patients with DN and 22 controls. mRNA levels of VEGF-A, CTGF, nephrin, podocin, and Wilms tumor1 (WT1) were measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Protein expression was evaluated using immuno-stainings for VEGF-A and CTGF, as well as markers for podocytes (WT1) and endothelial cells (CD31). We found a significant decrease in glomerular mRNA levels for VEGF-A (2.5 times), CTGF (1.6), nephrin (2.8), podocin (3.3), and WT1 (1.7) in patients with DN. There was a significant correlation between expression of podocyte markers and VEGF-A mRNA levels, and an inverse correlation between podocin message and the extent of interstitial fibrosis. CD31-positive area was significantly decreased (3.2 times) in patients with DN. Reduction of angiogenic factors correlated with the extent of interstitial fibrosis. This downregulation was related to a reduction of podocytes in DN. The results may suggest that downregulation of VEGF-A and CTGF in DN is a result of podocyte loss.Kidney International (2007) 71, 637–645. doi:10.1038/sj.ki.5002101; published online 31 January 2007


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