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

Retinoids regulate the repairing process of the podocytes in puromycin aminonucleoside-induced nephrotic rats.

The foot processes forming the slit diaphragm are disrupted in diseases associated with proteinuria. Although they are often repairable, regulators for the repairing process remain unknown. By extrapolating from the fact that vitamin A is essential for the nephrogenesis, this study examined whether or not injured podocytes in the middle of the repairing process require retinaldehyde dehydrogenase type 2 (RALDH2), one of the key enzymes to produce all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA). RALDH2 was dramatically upregulated in podocytes of puromycin aminonucleoside-induced nephrosis (PAN nephrosis) rats. On day 5 of PAN nephrosis, RALDH2 showed the remarkable induction, whereas glomerular expression levels of nephrin and midkine, one of the ATRA target genes, were downregulated. Daily administration of ATRA ameliorated proteinuria, which was accompanied by the improvement in the effacement of the foot processes and by the induction of nephrin and midkine. In contrast, recovery from PAN nephrosis was delayed in rats fed with a vitamin A-deficient diet. Consistently, the promoter region of human nephrin gene (NPHS1) contained three putative retinoic acid response elements (RARE) and showed the enhancer activity in response to ATRA in a dose-dependent manner. This transcriptional activation was regulated through the receptors for retinoids because BMS-189453, an antagonist to the retinoid receptors, counteracted it in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, active metabolites of vitamin A, especially ATRA produced by RALDH2 play relevant roles during the repairing process of injured podocytes. The results obtained from PAN nephrosis rats might be applicable to human renal diseases.[1]


  1. Retinoids regulate the repairing process of the podocytes in puromycin aminonucleoside-induced nephrotic rats. Suzuki, A., Ito, T., Imai, E., Yamato, M., Iwatani, H., Kawachi, H., Hori, M. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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