DPP8 and DPP9 have been demonstrated to play important roles in multiple diseases. Evidence for increased gene expression of DPP8 and DPP9 in tubulointerstitium was found to be associated with the decline of kidney function in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, which was observed in the Nephroseq human database. To examine the role of DPP8 and DPP9 in the tubulointerstitial injury, we determined the efficacy of DPP8 and DPP9 on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and tubulointerstitial fibrosis (TIF) as well as the underlying mechanisms.
We conducted the immunofluorescence of DPP8 and DPP9 in kidney biopsy specimens of CKD patients, established unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) animal model, treated with TC-E5007 (a specific inhibitor of both DPP8 and DPP9) or Saxagliptin (positive control) or saline, and HK-2 cells model.
We observed the significantly increased expression of DPP8 and DPP9 in the renal proximal tubule epithelial cells of CKD patients compared to the healthy control subjects. DPP8/DPP9 inhibitor TC-E5007 could significantly attenuate the EMT and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis in UUO mice, all these effects were mediated via interfering with the TGF-β1/Smad signaling. TC-E5007 treatment also presented reduced renal inflammation and improved renal function in the UUO mice compared to the placebo-treated UUO group. Furthermore, the siRNA for DPP8 and DPP9, and TC-E5007 treatment decreased EMT- and ECM-related proteins in TGF-β1-treated HK-2 cells respectively, which could be reversed significantly by transduction with lentivirus-DPP8 and lentivirus-DPP9.
These data obtained provide evidence that the DPP8 and DPP9 could be potential therapeutic targets against TIF.

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