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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Loss of tubular bone morphogenetic protein-7 in diabetic nephropathy.

Bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP7), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily of cytokines, is highly expressed in renal tubules and generally promotes maintenance of epithelial phenotype. It was examined whether, during the evolution of experimental diabetic nephropathy, the renal expression of BMP7 and BMP7 receptors declines, and the hypothesis that loss of BMP7 activity is profibrogenic in proximal tubular cells was tested. Moreover, in vitro studies in cultured proximal tubular cells were performed to examine putative mechanisms that cause these changes. At 15 wk of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, renal expression of BMP7 is declined by about half, and it decreased further by 30 wk to <10% of timed controls. Renal expression of the high-affinity BMP type II receptor and the type I receptor Alk2 ( activin receptor-like kinase-2) decreased. Alk3 tended to decrease, but Alk6 remained unchanged. During the evolution of diabetic nephropathy, the secreted BMP antagonist gremlin increased substantially. In cultured tubular cells, TGF-beta reduced BMP7 and Alk3 expression and increased gremlin but did not interrupt BMP7- induced activation of smad5 or Erk1 and -2. In contrast, BMP7 did not alter TGF-beta expression. Neutralization of endogenous BMP7 in cultured proximal tubular cells raised the expression of fibronectin and tended to increase collagen alpha(1) III mRNA levels. In conclusion, in experimental diabetic nephropathy, renal tubular BMP7 and some of its receptors decreased and gremlin, a secreted BMP antagonist, increased. Some, but not all, of these changes are explained by increased TGF-beta. The loss of BMP7 activity per se is profibrogenic in tubular cells.[1]


  1. Loss of tubular bone morphogenetic protein-7 in diabetic nephropathy. Wang, S.N., Lapage, J., Hirschberg, R. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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