Induction of heme oxygenase-1 modulates the profibrotic effects of transforming growth factor-beta in human renal tubular epithelial cells

Academic Article


  • Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is implicated in a variety of kidney diseases where it promotes extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and pro-inflammatory events, but it also stabilizes and attenuates tissue injury through the activation of cytoprotective proteins, including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). HO-1 catalyzes the conversion of heme into carbon monoxide (CO), iron, and biliverdin, which is subsequently converted to bilirubin. The beneficial effects of HO-1 induction include decreasing pro-oxidants (heme), increasing anti-oxidants (biliverdin and bilirubin), and producing a vasodilator with anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory properties (CO). The reaction products of HO-1 may also have antifibrogenic properties. The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of HO-1 expression and its reaction products on fibronectin, an ECM protein, in the kidney. The results demonstrate that kidneys of HO-1 knockout mice express significantly more fibronectin protein as compared to heterozygote mice. A potent inducer of HO-1, hemin, significantly decreases fibronectin protein with a concomitant increase in HO-1 protein. Cells expressing HO-1, via TGF-beta1 induction, have reduced fibronectin expression. Bilirubin, a product of the heme oxygenase reaction, attenuates TGF-beta1-mediated increases in fibronectin expression. These results indicate that HO-1 induction and activity may modulate the production of ECM components and suggest a potential role for TGF-beta-mediated HO-1 induction in attenuating renal fibrosis.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mark A; Hock T; Kapturczak MH; Agarwal A; Hill-Kapturczak N
  • Start Page

  • 357
  • End Page

  • 362
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 4