Colchicine attenuates renal injury in a model of hypertensive chronic kidney disease
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Hypertension is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, particularly when associated with impaired renal autoregulation and thereby increased intraglomerular pressure (Pgc). Elevated Pgc can be modeled in vitro by exposing glomerular mesangial cells to mechanical strain. We previously showed that RhoA mediates strain-induced matrix production. Here, we show that RhoA activation is dependent on an intact microtubule network. Upregulation of the profibrotic cytokine connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) by mechanical strain is dependent on RhoA activation and inhibited by microtubule disruption. We tested the effects of the microtubule depolymerizing agent colchicine in 5/6 nephrectomized rats, a model of chronic kidney disease driven by elevated Pgc. Colchicine inhibited glomerular RhoA activation and attenuated both glomerular sclerosis and interstitial fibrosis without affecting systemic blood pressure. Upregulation of the matrix proteins collagen I and fibronectin, as well as CTGF, was attenuated by colchicine. Activity of the profibrotic cytokine TGF-β, as assessed by Smad3 phosphorylation, was also inhibited by colchicine. Microtubule disruption significantly decreased renal infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages. Our studies thus indicate that colchicine modifies hypertensive renal fibrosis. Its protective effects are likely mediated by inhibition of RhoA signaling and renal infiltration of inflammatory cells. Already well-established in clinical practice for other indications, prevention of hypertension-associated renal fibrosis may represent a new potential use for colchicine.
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