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

Protease-activated receptor-2 expression in IgA nephropathy: a potential role in the pathogenesis of interstitial fibrosis.

An increasing body of evidence suggests that proteases may play a key role in the pathogenesis of tissue fibrosis. Protease-activated receptor-2 ( PAR-2) is cleaved and activated by trypsin-like proteolytic enzymes, including tryptase and activated coagulation factor X (FXa). Both these soluble mediators have been demonstrated, directly or indirectly, at the interstitial level in progressive renal diseases, including IgA nephropathy (IgAN). PAR-2 mRNA and protein levels were investigated by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively, in 17 biopsies from IgAN patients and 10 normal kidneys. PAR-2 expression was also evaluated, by RT-PCR and western blotting, in cultured human mesangial and proximal tubular cells. Finally, gene expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and TGF-beta, two powerful fibrogenic factors, was evaluated in FXa-, trypsin-, and PAR-2 activating peptide-stimulated human proximal tubular cells by Northern blot. In normal kidneys, PAR-2 gene expression was barely detectable, whereas in IgAN biopsies the mRNA levels for this protease receptor were strikingly increased and directly correlated with the extent of interstitial fibrosis. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated that PAR-2 protein expression in IgAN biopsies was mainly localized in the proximal tubuli and within the interstitial infiltrate. Proximal tubular cells in culture expressed PAR-2. Activation of this receptor by FXa in tubular cells induced a striking increase in intracellular calcium concentration. In addition, incubation of both cell lines with trypsin, FXa, or PAR-2 activating peptide caused a marked upregulation of PAI-1 gene expression that was not counterbalanced by an increased expression of plasminogen activators. Finally, PAR-2 activation induced a significant upregulation of TGF-beta gene and protein expression in both mesangial and tubular cells. On the basis of our data, we can suggest that PAR-2 expressed by renal resident cells and activated by either mast cell tryptase or FXa may induce extracellular matrix deposition modifying the PAI-1/PA balance and inducing TGF-beta expression. These molecular mechanisms may underlie interstitial fibrosis in IgAN.[1]


  1. Protease-activated receptor-2 expression in IgA nephropathy: a potential role in the pathogenesis of interstitial fibrosis. Grandaliano, G., Pontrelli, P., Cerullo, G., Monno, R., Ranieri, E., Ursi, M., Loverre, A., Gesualdo, L., Schena, F.P. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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