Aberrant planar cell polarity induced by urinary tract obstruction

Ling Li, Diana Zepeda-Orozco, Vishal Patel, Phu Truong, Courtney M. Karner, Thomas J. Carroll, Fangming Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Flow sensing by primary cilia of the epithelial cells is involved in cystogenesis in polycystic kidney disease. We investigate whether a similar mechanism applies to the pathogenesis of cyst-like tubular dilatation induced by ureteral obstruction in mice. Robust proliferation occurs in the obstructed tubules when urine flow is interrupted as well as in the repairing tubules when urine flow is reestablished after relief of the obstruction, suggesting a urine flow-independent mechanism of proliferation. In the urothelium, proliferation is only detected above the obstruction, although urine flow ceased both above and below the obstruction. Our results support mechanical strain- rather than flow-mediated proliferation in obstructive uropathy. To understand the mechanism of cell proliferation leading to increased tubular diameter in cyst-like tubular dilatation, we examine planar cell polarity (PCP), which is necessary for oriented cell division and maintenance of tubular diameter. In dilated tubules, the orientation of cell division is randomized, atypical PKC (aPKC) is mislocalized, and the pattern of the expression of a core PCP protein, Frizzled3 (Fz3), is altered. In addition, the level of Fz3 expression is increased. These results indicate that aberrant PCP may contribute to cyst-like tubular dilatation in obstructive uropathy. Interestingly, the orientation of cell division, localization of aPKC, and Fz3 expression return to normal when obstruction is relieved, which suggest a role of normal PCP signaling in tubular repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1526-F1533
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Mechanical strain
  • Obstructive injury
  • Orientation of cell division
  • Urine flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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