(Pro)renin receptor [(P)RR] is expressed in the kidney and is involved in renal injury. Although (P)RR is activated by indoxyl sulfate (IS) and may be related to renal injury, the details remain unclear. We used mouse mesangial cell line SV40 MES13 to investigate the association of (P)RR with mesangial fibrosis or expansion. Furthermore, we examined the correlation between serum soluble (P)RR [s(P)RR] and various laboratory data including serum IS, a uremic toxin that induces renal fibrosis through (P)RR, and pathological indices in chronic kidney disease and particularly in IgA nephropathy patients. In vitro study using SV40 MES13 cells revealed that (P)RR expression significantly increased in the presence of IS. IS stimulated the fibrotic factors' expression, which was significantly suppressed by (P)RR knockdown. Moreover, it significantly increased the expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 via the ERK1/2 pathway. In addition, the s(P)RR level significantly correlated with serum IS and mesangial injury markers in our patients. Our results suggest that (P)RR is associated with mesangial fibrosis and matrix expansion through the IS-(P)RR-ERK1/2 pathway. Clinically, s(P)RR may be a biomarker of mesangial fibrosis and matrix expansion.
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