Tubulointerstitial fibrosis is a common pathway of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is closely related to the progression of CKD. LMCD1, acting as an intermediary, has been reported to play a role in cardiac fibrosis. However, its role in renal fibrosis is yet to be deciphered. Based on the GEO database, we found the expression of LMCD1 is increased in kidney tissues of CKD patients and in human proximal tubular epithelial (HK-2) cells treated with transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), suggesting that LMCD1 may be involved in tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Herein, we investigated the role of LMCD1 in mice with unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) and in TGF-β1-stimulated HK-2 cells. In the UUO model, the expression of LMCD1 was upregulated. UUO-induced renal histopathological changes were mitigated by knockdown of LMCD1. LMCD1 silence alleviated renal interstitial fibrosis in UUO mice by decreasing the expression of TGF-β1, fibronectin, collagen I, and collagen III. LMCD1 deficiency suppressed cell apoptosis in kidney to prevent UUO-triggered renal injury. Furthermore, LMCD1 deficiency blocked the activation of ERK signaling in UUO mice. In vitro, LMCD1 was upregulated in HK-2 cells after TGF-β1 stimulation. LMCD1 silence abrogated TGF-β1-mediated upregulation of fibrotic genes. Treatment of HK-2 cells with ERK-specific inhibitor SCH772984 and agonist TPA validated LMCD1 exerted its function via activating ERK signaling. Together, our findings suggest that inhibition of LMCD1 protects against renal interstitial fibrosis by impeding ERK activation.
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