Podocyte-endothelial cell cross-talk is paramount for maintaining the filtration barrier. The present study investigated the endothelial response to podocyte injury and its subsequent role in glomerulosclerosis using the podocyte-specific injury model of NEP25/LMB2 mice. NEP25/LMB2 mice showed proteinuria and local podocyte loss accompanied by thrombotic microangiopathy on day 8. Mice showed an increase of glomerular plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) mRNA and aberrant endothelial PAI-1 protein already on day 1, before thrombosis and proteinuria. A PAI-1-specific inhibitor reduced proteinuria and thrombosis and preserved podocyte numbers in NEP25/LMB2 mice by stabilization of β1-integrin translocation. Heparin loading significantly reduced thrombotic formation, whereas proteinuria and podocyte numbers were unchanged. Immortalized podocytes treated with PAI-1 and the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) complex caused significant cell detachment, whereas podocytes treated with PAI-1 or uPA alone or with the PAI-1/uPA complex pretreated with an anti-uPA receptor (uPAR) antibody failed to cause detachment. Confocal microscopy and cell surface biotinylation experiments showed that internalized β1-integrin was found together with uPAR in endocytotic vesicles. The administration of PAI-1 inhibitor or uPAR-blocking antibody protected cultured podocytes from cell detachment. In conclusion, PAI-1/uPA complex-mediated uPAR-dependent podocyte β1-integrin endocytosis represents a novel mechanism of glomerular injury leading to progressive podocytopenia. This aberrant cross-talk between podocytes and endothelial cells represents a feed forward injury response driving podocyte loss and progressive glomerulosclerosis.
- Plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1
ASJC Scopus subject areas