Thrombin-induced podocyte injury is protease-activated receptor dependent

Ruchika Sharma, Amanda P. Waller, Shipra Agrawal, Katelyn J. Wolfgang, Hiep Luu, Khurrum Shahzad, Berend Isermann, William E. Smoyer, Marvin T. Nieman, Bryce A. Kerlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Nephrotic syndrome is characterized by massive proteinuria and injury of specialized glomerular epithelial cells called podocytes. Studies have shown that, whereas low-concentration thrombin may be cytoprotective, higher thrombin concentrationsmay contribute topodocyte injury.Weandothers havedemonstrated that ex vivo plasma thrombin generation is enhanced during nephrosis, suggesting that thrombin may contribute to nephrotic progression. Moreover, nonspecific thrombin inhibition has been shown to decrease proteinuria in nephrotic animal models. We thus hypothesized that thrombin contributes to podocyte injury in a protease-activated receptorspecific manner during nephrosis. Here, we show that specific inhibition of thrombin with hirudin reduced proteinuria in two rat nephrosis models, and thrombin colocalized with a podocyte-specific marker in rat glomeruli. Furthermore, flow cytometry immunophenotyping revealed that rat podocytes express the protease-activated receptor family of coagulation receptors in vivo.High-concentration thrombin directly injured conditionally immortalized human and rat podocytes. Using receptor-blocking antibodies and activation peptides,we determined that thrombin-mediated injury depended upon interactions between protease-activated receptor 3 and proteaseactivatedreceptor 4 in human podocytes, andbetweenprotease-activated receptor 1 andprotease-activated receptor 4 in rat podocytes. Proximity ligation and coimmunoprecipitation assays confirmed thrombindependent interactions between human protease-activated receptor 3 and protease-activated receptor 4, and between rat protease-activated receptor 1 and protease-activated receptor 4 in cultured podocytes. Collectively, thesedata implicate thrombinuria as a contributor to podocyte injury duringnephrosis, and suggest that thrombin and/or podocyte-expressed thrombin receptors may be novel therapeutic targets for nephrotic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2618-2630
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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