Proximal tubule-derived amphiregulin amplifies and integrates profibrotic EGF receptor signals in kidney fibrosis

Eirini Kefaloyianni, Manikanda Raja Keerthi Raja, Julian Schumacher, Muthu Lakshmi Muthu, Vaishali Krishnadoss, Sushrut S. Waikar, Andreas Herrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Sustained activation of EGF receptor (EGFR) in proximal tubule cells is a hallmark of progressive kidney fibrosis after AKI and in CKD. However, the molecular mechanisms and particular EGFR ligands involved are unknown. Methods: We studied EGFR activation in proximal tubule cells and primary tubular cells isolated from injured kidneys in vitro. To determine in vivo the role of amphiregulin, a low-affinity EGFR ligand that is highly upregulatedwith injury,we used ischemia-reperfusion injury or unilateral ureteral obstruction inmice with proximal tubule cell-specific knockout of amphiregulin. We also injected soluble amphiregulin into knockoutmice with proximal tubule cell-specific deletion of amphiregulin's releasing enzyme, the transmembrane cell-surface metalloprotease, a disintegrin and metalloprotease-17 (ADAM17), and into ADAM17 hypomorphic mice. Results: Yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1)-dependent upregulation of amphiregulin transcript and protein amplifies amphiregulin signaling in a positive feedback loop. YAP1 also integrates signals of other moderately injury-upregulated, low-affinity EGFR ligands (epiregulin, epigen, TGFa), whichalso require soluble amphiregulin and YAP1 to induce sustained EGFR activation in proximal tubule cells in vitro. In vivo, soluble amphiregulin injection sufficed to reverse protection from fibrosis after ischemia-reperfusion injury in ADAM17 hypomorphic mice; injected soluble amphiregulin also reversed the corresponding protective proximal tubule cell phenotype in injured proximal tubule cell-specific ADAM17 knockout mice. Moreover, the finding that proximal tubule cell-specific amphiregulin knockout mice were protected from fibrosis after ischemia-reperfusion injury or unilateral ureteral obstruction demonstrates that amphiregulin was necessary for the development of fibrosis. Conclusions: Our results identify amphiregulin as a key player in injury-induced kidney fibrosis and suggest therapeutic or diagnostic applications of soluble amphiregulin in kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2370-2383
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Volume30
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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