Molecular Medicine

, Volume 17, Issue 11–12, pp 1204–1212 | Cite as

Protective Effect of TRPV1 against Renal Fibrosis via Inhibition of TGF-β/Smad Signaling in DOCA-Salt Hypertension

  • Youping Wang
  • Donna H. Wang
Research Article


To investigate the effects of the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channel on renal extracellular matrix (ECM) protein expression including collagen deposition and the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)/Smad signaling pathway during salt-dependent hypertension, wild-type (WT) and TRPV1-null (TRPV1−/−) mutant mice were uninephrectomized and given deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt for 4 wks. TRPV1 gene ablation exaggerated DOCA-salt-induced impairment of renal function as evidenced by increased albumin excretion (µg/24 h) compared with WT mice (83.7 ± 7.1 versus 28.3 ± 4.8, P < 0.05), but had no apparent effect on mean arterial pressure (mmHg) as determined by radiotelemetry (141 ± 4 versus 138 ± 3, P > 0.05). Morphological analysis showed that DOCA-salt-induced glomerulosclerosis, tubular injury and macrophage infiltration (cells/mm2) were increased in TRPV1−/− compared with WT mice (0.74 ± 0.08 versus 0.34 ± 0.04; 3.14 ± 0.26 versus 2.00 ± 0.31; 68 ± 5 versus 40 ± 4, P < 0.05). Immunostaining studies showed that DOCA-salt treatment decreased nephrin but increased collagen type I and IV as well as phosphorylated Smad2/3 staining in kidneys of TRPV1−/− compared with WT mice. Hydroxyproline assay and Western blot showed that DOCA-salt treatment increased collagen content (µg/mg dry tissue) and fibronectin protein expression (%β-actin arbitrary units) in the kidney of TRPV1−/− compared with WT mice (26.7 ± 2.7 versus 17.4 ± 1.8; 0.93 ± 0.07 versus 0.65 ± 0.08, P < 0.05). Acceleration of renal ECM protein deposition in DOCA-salt-treated TRPV1−/− mice was accompanied by increased TGF-β1, as well as phosphorylation of Smad2/3 protein expression (%β-actin arbitrary units) compared with DOCA-salt-treated WT mice (0.61 ± 0.07 versus 0.32 ± 0.05; 0.57 ± 0.07 versus 0.25 ± 0.05; 0.71 ± 0.08 versus 0.40 ± 0.06, P < 0.05). These results show that exaggerated renal functional and structural injuries are accompanied by increased production of ECM protein and activation of the TGF-β/Smad2/3 signaling pathway. These data suggest that activation of TRPV1 attenuates the progression of renal fibrosis possibly via suppression of the TGF-β and its downstream regulatory signaling pathway.



This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants HL-57853, HL-73287 and DK67620 and a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The authors thank Beihua Zhong for her excellent technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Laboratory for Basic Research in Medicine, and Division of Cardiology, First Affiliated HospitalHenan University of Traditional Chinese MedicineZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.Division of Nanomedicine and Molecular Intervention, Department of Medicine, the Neuroscience Program, and the Cell and Molecular Biology Program, B316 Clinical CenterMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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