Endotrophin neutralization through targeted antibody treatment protects from renal fibrosis in a podocyte ablation model

Yu A. An, Wei Xiong, Shiuhwei Chen, Dawei Bu, Joseph M. Rutkowski, Joel P. Berger, Christine M. Kusminski, Ningyan Zhang, Zhiqiang An, Philipp E. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Renal fibrosis is a hallmark for chronic kidney disease (CKD), and often leads to end stage renal disease (ESRD). However, limited interventions are available clinically to ameliorate or reverse renal fibrosis. Methods: Herein, we evaluated whether blockade of endotrophin through neutralizing antibodies protects from renal fibrosis in the podocyte insult model (the “POD-ATTAC” mouse). We determined the therapeutic effects of endotrophin targeted antibody through assessing renal function, renal inflammation and fibrosis at histological and transcriptional levels, and podocyte regeneration. Results: We demonstrated that neutralizing endotrophin antibody treatment significantly ameliorates renal fibrosis at the transcriptional, morphological, and functional levels. In the antibody treatment group, expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic genes was significantly reduced, normal renal structures were restored, collagen deposition was decreased, and proteinuria and renal function were improved. We further performed a lineage tracing study confirming that podocytes regenerate as de novo podocytes upon injury and loss, and blockade of endotrophin efficiently enhances podocyte-specific marker expressions. Conclusion: Combined, we provide pre-clinical evidence supporting neutralizing endotrophin as a promising therapy for intervening with renal fibrosis in CKD, and potentially in other chronic fibro-inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101680
JournalMolecular Metabolism
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody treatment
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Endotrophin
  • Podocin
  • Podocytes
  • Renal fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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