Tubular overexpression of Angiopoietin-1 attenuates renal Fibrosis

Sudhir Singh, Scott R. Manson, Heedoo Lee, Yeawon Kim, Tuoen Liu, Qiusha Guo, Julio J. Geminiani, Paul F. Austin, Ying Maggie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence has highlighted the pivotal role of microvasculature injury in the development and progression of renal fibrosis. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) is a secreted vascular growth factor that binds to the endothelial-specific Tie2 receptor. Ang-1/Tie2 signaling is critical for regulating blood vessel development and modulating vascular response after injury, but is dispensable in mature, quiescent vessels. Although dysregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling has been well studied in renal pathologies, much less is known about the role of the Ang-1/Tie2 pathway in renal interstitial fibrosis. Previous studies have shown contradicting effects of overexpressing Ang-1 systemically on renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis when different engineered forms of Ang-1 are used. Here, we investigated the impact of site-directed expression of native Ang-1 on the renal fibrogenic process and peritubular capillary network by exploiting a conditional transgenic mouse system [Pax8-rtTA/(TetO)7 Ang-1] that allows increased tubular Ang-1 production in adult mice. Using a murine unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) fibrosis model, we demonstrate that targeted Ang-1 overexpression attenuates myofibroblast activation and interstitial collagen I accumulation, inhibits the upregulation of transforming growth factor β1 and subsequent phosphorylation of Smad 2/3, dampens renal inflammation, and stimulates the growth of peritubular capillaries in the obstructed kidney. Our results suggest that Ang-1 is a potential therapeutic agent for targeting microvasculature injury in renal fibrosis without compromising the physiologically normal vasculature in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0158908
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016


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