Background. Osteopontin (OPN) is a macrophage chemotactic and adhesion molecule and has been shown to play a role in glomerular and tubulointerstitial injury in several kidney disease models. Methods. The present study examined whether OPN expression is involved in the progression of renal disease following subtotal (5/6) nephrectomy (STNx) in rats and whether angiotensin II (Ang II) mediates the up-regulation of renal OPN expression and macrophage accumulation in this model by administering valsartan, an Ang II type I (AT1) receptor antagonist, or ramipril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. Results. In normal and sham-operated rat kidneys, OPN was expressed in a few tubules (< 5%) and was absent in glomeruli. Following STNx (weeks 2 to 16), there was substantial up-regulation of OPN mRNA and protein expression in glomeruli [2 to 12 cells/glomerular cross section (gcs)] and tubular epithelial cells (20 to 75% OPN+). The up-regulation of OPN expression was associated with macrophage accumulation within the kidney, severe proteinuria, loss of renal function, and severe histologic damage, including tubulitis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis (all P < 0.001). Treatment with either valsartan or ramipril completely abrogated the up-regulation of OPN mRNA and protein expression in glomeruli and tubules. The reduction in OPN expression was associated with a significant inhibition of macrophage accumulation and progressive renal injury (P < 0.001). Conclusion. An up-regulation of OPN expression may play a role in progressive renal injury following STNx. Inhibition of OPN expression may be one of the mechanisms by which Ang II blockade attenuated renal injury after renal ablation.
- Adhesion molecule
- Tubulointerstitial injury