FSGS as an Adaptive Response to Growth-Induced Podocyte Stress.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Am Soc Nephrol, Volume 28, Issue 10, p.2931-2945 (2017)


Adaptation, Physiological, Animals, Body Weight, Cell Cycle, Enalapril, Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental, Humans, Kidney Glomerulus, Male, Organ Size, Podocytes, Random Allocation, Rats, Inbred F344, Stress, Physiological, Transcriptome. ASN


Glomerular sclerotic lesions develop when the glomerular filtration surface area exceeds the availability of podocyte foot process coverage, but the mechanisms involved are incompletely characterized. We evaluated potential mechanisms using a transgenic (podocin promoter-AA-4E-BP1) rat in which podocyte capacity for hypertrophy in response to growth factor/nutrient signaling is impaired. FSGS lesions resembling human FSGS developed spontaneously by 7 months of age, and could be induced earlier by accelerating kidney hypertrophy by nephrectomy. Early segmental glomerular lesions occurred in the absence of a detectable reduction in average podocyte number per glomerulus and resulted from the loss of podocytes in individual glomerular capillary loops. Parietal epithelial cell division, accumulation on Bowman's capsule, and tuft invasion occurred at these sites. Three different interventions that prevented kidney growth and glomerular enlargement (calorie intake reduction, inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin complex, and inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme) protected against FSGS lesion development, even when initiated late in the process. Ki67 nuclear staining and unbiased transcriptomic analysis identified increased glomerular (but not podocyte) cell cycling as necessary for FSGS lesion development. The rat FSGS-associated transcriptomic signature correlated with human glomerular transcriptomes associated with disease progression, compatible with similar processes occurring in man. We conclude that FSGS lesion development resulted from glomerular growth that exceeded the capacity of podocytes to adapt and adequately cover some parts of the filtration surface. Modest modulation of the growth side of this equation significantly ameliorated FSGS progression, suggesting that glomerular growth is an underappreciated therapeutic target for preservation of renal function.