Angiotensin II upregulates tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in the rat kidney with unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). In a mouse model of UUO, we found that tubulointerstitial fibrosis is blunted when the TNF-α receptor, TNFR1, is functionally knocked out. In this study, we used mutant mice with UUO in which the angiotensin II receptor AT1a or the TNF-α receptors TNFR1 and TNFR2 were knocked out to elucidate interactions between the two systems. The contribution of both systems to renal fibrosis was assessed by treating TNFR1/TNFR2-double knockout (KO) mice with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, enalapril. The increased interstitial volume (Vvint) in the C57BI/6 wild-type mouse was decreased in the AT1a KO from 32.8 ± 4.0 to 21.0 ± 3.7% (P < 0.005) or in the TNFR1/TNFR2 KO to 22.3 ± 2.1% (P < 0.005). The Vvint of the TNFR1/TNFR2 KO was further decreased to 15.2 ± 3.7% (P < 0.01) by enalapril compared with no treatment. The induction of TNF-α mRNA and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) mRNA in the kidney with UUO was significantly blunted in the AT1a or TNFR1/TNFR2 KO mice compared with the wild-type mice. Treatment of the TNFR1/TNFR2 KO mouse with enalapril reduced both TNF-α and TGF-β1 mRNA and their proteins to near normal levels. Also, α-smooth muscle actin expression and myofibroblast proliferation were significantly inhibited in the AT1a or TNFR1/TNFR2 KO mice, and they were further inhibited in enalapril-treated TNFR1/TNFR2 KO mice. Incapacitating the angiotensin II or the TNF-α systems individually leads to partial blunting of fibrosis. Incapacitating both systems, by using a combination of genetic and pharmacological means, further inhibited interstitial fibrosis and tubule atrophy in obstructive nephropathy.
- Interstitial volume
- Tubulointerstitial fibrosis