The emerging role of activins in renal disease
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review highlights recent discoveries and advances that have been made in understanding the role of the TGFβ superfamily members activins, and in particular, activin A (ActA), in renal disease. RECENT FINDINGS: A deleterious role for ActA in renal disease and its complications has begun to emerge. We summarize data supporting an important contribution of ActA to kidney fibrosis and inflammation of varying causes, as well as its role in the development of a particular bone mineral disorder seen in chronic kidney disease (CKD) called mineral bone disorder (MBD), including vascular calcification. Finally, we discuss ActA in the context of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease and review potential approaches to treatment based on ActA blockade. SUMMARY: ActA is an important contributor to the pathogenesis of acute and chronic kidney disease of varying causes. Preclinical studies show that ActA inhibition, through various approaches, is protective in rodent models of kidney disease. The potential adverse effects of some of these approaches can be attributed to their targeting of other TGFβ family ligands. Further preclinical and clinical investigations testing the therapeutic efficacy of more selective ActA inhibition on the progression of acute and chronic kidney disease and its impact on bone-mineral disorder would more definitively establish its role in renal disease.
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