Transforming growth factor-β1/Smad3- independent epithelial-mesenchymal transition in type I collagen glomerulopathy


The glomerulofibrotic Col1a2-deficient mouse model demonstrates glomerular homotrimeric type I collagen deposition in mesangial and subendothelial spaces. In this report, we investigate the role of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) in myofibroblast activation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in this glomerulopathy. Immunohistochemical analyses of glomerular a-sma, desmin, vimentin, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen demonstrated parietal epithelial cell proliferation and EMT in late stages of the glomerulopathy in the Col1a2-deficient mice. Glomerular TGF-β1 RNA and protein were not elevated in 1- and 3-month-old mice as determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and protein immunoassay analyses. To investigate further whether TGF-β1 plays a role in the glomerulopathy outside of the 1- and 3-month time periods, the Col1a2-deficient mice were bred with Smad3 knockout mice. If the glomerular fibrosis in the Col1a2-deficient mice is mediated by the TGF-β1/Smad3 transcription pathway, it was hypothesized that the resultant Col1a2- deficient/Smad3-deficient mice would exhibit attenuated glomerular homotrimer deposition. However, the Col1a2-deficient/Smad3-deficient kidneys were similarly affected as compared to age-matched Col1a2-deficient kidneys, suggesting that homotrimeric type I collagen deposition in the Col1a2-deficient mouse is independent of TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling. Deposition of homotrimeric type I collagen appears to be the initiating event in this glomerulopathy, providing evidence that EMT and myofibroblast activation occur following initiation, consistent with a secondary wound-healing response independent of TGF-β1.


Biomedical Sciences

Document Type





Glomerulofibrosis, Homotrimeric type I collagen, Myofibroblast, Renal pathology

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease