alexa Indoxyl sulfate, a representative uremic toxin, suppresses erythropoietin production in a HIF-dependent manner.
Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Bioinformatics & Systems Biology

Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics

Author(s): Chiang CK, Tanaka T, Inagi R, Fujita T, Nangaku M

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Abstract Advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients encounter anemia through insufficient erythropoietin (EPO) production by peritubular fibroblasts. Recent studies showed an increase in EPO production by pharmacological activation of hypoxia-inducible transcription factors (HIFs) in dialysis patients, suggesting that desensitization of the oxygen-sensing mechanism is responsible for the development of renal anemia. Our recent work demonstrated that indoxyl sulfate (IS), a uremic toxin, dysregulates oxygen metabolism in tubular cells. Here we provide evidence of an additional property that IS impairs oxygen sensing in EPO-producing cells. HepG2 cells were stimulated with cobalt chloride (CoCl(2)) or hypoxia under varying concentrations of IS. EPO mRNA was evaluated by quantitative PCR. Nuclear accumulation of HIF-α was evaluated by western blotting. Transcriptional activity of HIF was checked by hypoxia-responsive element (HRE)-luciferase reporter assay. The impact of IS was further evaluated in vivo by administering rats with indole, a metabolic precursor of IS, and subjecting them to CoCl(2) stimulation, in which renal EPO mRNA as well as plasma EPO levels were measured by quantitative PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. Although IS induced cellular toxicity at relatively high concentrations (2.5 mM), EPO mRNA expression was significantly suppressed by IS at concentrations below cytotoxic ranges. In HepG2 cells, IS treatment decreased nuclear accumulation of HIF-α proteins and suppressed HRE-luciferase activity following hypoxia. Furthermore, administration of rats with indole suppressed renal EPO mRNA expression and plasma EPO levels, corroborating in vitro findings. Results of the present study provide a possible connection between a uremic toxin and the desensitization of the oxygen-sensing mechanism in EPO-producing cells, which may partly explain inadequate EPO production in hypoxic kidneys of CKD patients. This article was published in Lab Invest and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics

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