Intrinsic TGF-β signaling attenuates proximal tubule mitochondrial injury and inflammation in chronic kidney disease

Merve Kayhan, Judith Vouillamoz, Daymé Gonzalez Rodriguez, Milica Bugarski, Yasutaka Mitamura, Julia Gschwend, Christoph Schneider, Andrew Hall, David Legouis, Cezmi A. Akdis, Leary Peter, Hubert Rehrauer, Leslie Gewin, Roland H. Wenger, Stellor Nlandu Khodo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Excessive TGF-β signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction fuel chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression. However, inhibiting TGF-β failed to impede CKD in humans. The proximal tubule (PT), the most vulnerable renal segment, is packed with giant mitochondria and injured PT is pivotal in CKD progression. How TGF-β signaling affects PT mitochondria in CKD remained unknown. Here, we combine spatial transcriptomics and bulk RNAseq with biochemical analyses to depict the role of TGF-β signaling on PT mitochondrial homeostasis and tubulo-interstitial interactions in CKD. Male mice carrying specific deletion of Tgfbr2 in the PT have increased mitochondrial injury and exacerbated Th1 immune response in the aristolochic acid model of CKD, partly, through impaired complex I expression and mitochondrial quality control associated with a metabolic rewiring toward aerobic glycolysis in the PT cells. Injured S3T2 PT cells are identified as the main mediators of the maladaptive macrophage/dendritic cell activation in the absence of Tgfbr2. snRNAseq database analyses confirm decreased TGF-β receptors and a metabolic deregulation in the PT of CKD patients. This study describes the role of TGF-β signaling in PT mitochondrial homeostasis and inflammation in CKD, suggesting potential therapeutic targets that might be used to mitigate CKD progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3236
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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