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Supplementary Material for: Hypoxia Induces Mesenchymal Gene Expression in Renal Tubular Epithelial Cells: An in vitro Model of Kidney Transplant Fibrosis

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posted on 06.06.2013, 00:00 by Zell S., Schmitt R., Witting S., Kreipe H.H., Hussein K., Becker J.U.
Background: The development of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy is a common complication after kidney transplantation and is associated with reduced long-term outcome. The hallmark of tubulointerstitial fibrosis is an increase in extracellular matrix resulting from exaggerated activation of fibroblasts/myofibroblasts, and tubular atrophy is characterized by a decrease in tubular diameter and loss of function. Atrophic epithelial cells may undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) with potential differentiation into interstitial fibroblasts. One potential driver of EMT in developing interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy is chronic hypoxia. Methods: The expression of 46 EMT-related genes was analyzed in an in vitro hypoxia model in renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC). Furthermore, the expression of 342 microRNAs (miR) was evaluated in hypoxic culture conditions. Results: Hypoxic RPTEC expressed markers of a more mesenchymal phenotype and showed an increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2). MMP2 expression in RPTEC correlated inversely with a decreased expression of miR-124, which was found to have a putative binding site for the MMP2 transcript. Overexpression of miR-124 inhibited MMP2 protein translation. Hypoxia was associated with increased migration/proliferation of RPTEC which was reversed by miR-124. Conclusions: These results indicate that hypoxia promotes a mesenchymal and migratory phenotype in renal epithelial cells, which is associated with increased MMP2 expression. Hypoxia-dependent MMP2 expression is regulated via a reduced transcription of miR-124. Overexpression of miR-124 antagonizes hypoxia-induced cell migration. Further research is needed to elucidate the functional role of miR-124 and MMP2 in the development of fibrosis in renal transplant degeneration.