Renal epithelial cells retain primary cilia during human acute renal allograft rejection injury

Elizabeth Verghese, Luciano G. Martelotto, Jason E. Cain, Timothy M. Williams, Andrea F. Wise, Prudence A. Hill, Robyn G. Langham, D. Neil Watkins, Sharon D. Ricardo, James A. Deane

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Primary cilia are sensory organelles which co-ordinate several developmental/repair pathways including hedgehog signalling. Studies of human renal allografts suffering acute tubular necrosis have shown that length of primary cilia borne by epithelial cells doubles throughout the nephron and collecting duct, and then normalises as renal function returns. Conversely the loss of primary cilia has been reported in chronic allograft rejection and linked to defective hedgehog signalling. We investigated the fate of primary cilia in renal allografts suffering acute rejection. Results: Here we observed that in renal allografts undergoing acute rejection, primary cilia were retained, with their length increasing 1 week after transplantation and remaining elevated. We used a mouse model of acute renal injury to demonstrate that elongated renal primary cilia in the injured renal tubule show evidence of smoothened accumulation, a biomarker for activation of hedgehog signalling. We conclude that primary cilium-mediated activation of hedgehog signalling is still possible during the acute phase of renal allograft rejection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number718
Number of pages5
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Hedgehog signaling
  • Primary cilia
  • Rejection
  • Renal allograft

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