Aim: Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) has been implicated in the development of renal inflammation and fibrosis. In particular, activation of PAR2 in cultured tubular epithelial cells induces extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and secretion of fibronectin, C–C Motif Chemokine Ligand 2 (CCL2) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), suggesting a role in tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis. We tested this hypothesis in unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO) in which ongoing tubular epithelial cell damage drives tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis. Methods: Unilateral ureteric obstruction surgery was performed in groups (n = 9/10) of Par2−/− and wild type (WT) littermate mice which were killed 7 days later. Non-experimental mice were controls. Results: Wild type mice exhibited a 5-fold increase in Par2 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in the UUO kidney. In situ hybridization localized Par2 mRNA expression to tubular epithelial cells in normal kidney, with a marked increase in Par2 mRNA expression by tubular cells, including damaged tubular cells, in WT UUO kidney. Tubular damage (tubular dilation, increased KIM-1 and decreased α-Klotho expression) and tubular signalling (extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation) seen in WT UUO were not altered in Par2−/− UUO. In addition, macrophage infiltration, up-regulation of M1 (NOS2) and M2 (CD206) macrophage markers, and up-regulation of pro-inflammatory molecules (tumour necrosis factor, CCL2, interleukin-36α) in WT UUO kidney were unchanged in Par2−/− UUO. Finally, the accumulation of α-SMA+ myofibroblasts, deposition of collagen IV and expression of pro-fibrotic factors (CTGF, TGF-β1) were not different between WT and Par2−/− UUO mice. Conclusion: Protease-activated receptor 2 expression is substantially up-regulated in tubular epithelial cells in the obstructed kidney, but this does not contribute to the development of tubular damage, renal inflammation or fibrosis.
- extracellular signal-regulated kinase
- in situ hybridization
- tubular epithelial cells