Molecular Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 276–284 | Cite as

Pentoxifylline Attenuates Proteinuria in Anti-Thy1 Glomerulonephritis via Downregulation of Nuclear Factor-κB and Smad2/3 Signaling

  • Yung-Ming Chen
  • Wen-Chih Chiang
  • Yalin Yang
  • Chun-Fu Lai
  • Kwan-Dun Wu
  • Shuei-Liong Lin
Research Article


Anti-Thy1 glomerulonephritis is a rat nephritis model closely simulating human mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis. It affects primarily the mesangium, yet displays substantial proteinuria during the course. This study investigated the molecular signals underlying proteinuria in this disease and the modulation of which by the known antiproteinuric agent, pentoxifylline. Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into a control group and nephritic groups with or without treatment with IMD-0354 (an IκB kinase inhibitor), SB431542 (an activin receptor-like kinase inhibitor) or pentoxifylline. Kidney sections were prepared for histological examinations. Glomeruli were isolated for mRNA and protein analysis. Urine samples were collected for protein and nephrin quantitation. One day after nephritis induction, proteinuria developed together with ultrastructural changes of the podocyte and downregulation of podocyte mRNA and protein expression. These were associated with upregulation of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β/activins mRNAs and activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65 and Smad2/3. IMD-0354 attenuated proteinuria on d 1, whereas SB431542 decreased proteinuria on d 3 and 5, in association with partial restoration of downregulated podocyte mRNA and protein expression. Pentoxifylline attenuated proteinuria and nephrinuria through the course, plus inhibition of p-NF-κB p65 (d 1) and p-Smad2/3 (d 5) and partial reversal of downregulated podocyte mRNA and protein. Our data show that the pathogenesis of proteinuria in anti-Thy1 glomerulonephritis involves TNF-α and TGF-β/activin pathways, and the evolution of this process can be attenuated by pentoxifylline via downregulation of NF-κB and Smad signals and restoration of the podocyte component of the glomerular filtration barrier.



We are grateful to professor Kuo-Shyan Lu and his members for technical support in the use of electron microscopy at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University. This project was supported by grants from the National Science Council, Executive Yuan (grant nos. 96-2314-B-002-059-MY3, 99-2628-B-002-011-MY2), National Taiwan University Hospital (grant no. 100-S1568), the Ta-Tung Kidney Foundation and the Mrs. Hsiu-Chin Lee Kidney Research Fund, Taipei, Taiwan.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Yung-Ming Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen-Chih Chiang
    • 1
  • Yalin Yang
    • 1
  • Chun-Fu Lai
    • 1
  • Kwan-Dun Wu
    • 1
  • Shuei-Liong Lin
    • 1
  1. 1.Renal Division, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Renal Division, Department of Internal MedicineNational Taiwan University Hospital, Yun-Lin BranchTaipeiTaiwan

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