Increasing evidence has demonstrated that loss of peritubular capillaries plays a critical role in renal interstitial fibrosis. Leucine-rich α2-glycoprotein-1 (LRG1) has been observed promoting angiogenesis in the ocular disease mouse model and myocardial infarction model. We aimed to explore the role of LRG1 in renal interstitial fibrosis.
We analyzed the expression of LRG1 in the plasma and kidney of CKD patients by ELISA and immunohistochemistry. Relationships between the expression of LRG1 in plasma and kidney and renal fibrosis and inflammation were analyzed. Tube formation assay was used to detect the angiogenesis in the human umbilical vein endothelial cell lines (HUVECs). And real-time PCR was used to detect the mRNA expression of LRG1, inflammatory factors, renal tubular injury indicators, pro-fibrotic cytokines, and CD31. We examined the effects of genetic ablation of LRG1 on renal fibrosis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) mice model at day 7.
We demonstrated that the expression of LRG1 in renal tissues and plasma samples was upregulated in CKD patients. And the expression of LRG1 was elevated in human renal tubular epithelial cell line (HK-2) cells in response to the stimulation of TNF-α in vitro, and in kidney after UUO in vivo. The deficiency of the LRG1 gene aggravated renal fibrosis, inflammatory cells infiltration, and capillary rarefaction after UUO. In vitro, LRG1 promoted the tube formation of HUVEC cells. LRG1 inhibits fibronectin secretion induced by TGF-β1 in HK-2 and overexpression of LRG1 in HK-2 cells decreased fibronectin secretion.
LRG1 may prevent renal fibrosis by inhibiting the secretion of inflammatory and pro-fibrotic cytokines and promoting angiogenesis.

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