Previously it was shown that the TNF superfamily member TWEAK (TNFSF12) acts through its receptor, Fn14, to promote proinflammatory responses in kidney cells, including the production of MCP-1, RANTES, IP-10 and KC. In addition, the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway promotes mesangial cell proliferation, vascular cell activation, and renal cell death. To study the relevance of the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway in the pathogenesis of antibody-induced nephritis using the mouse model of nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTN), we induced NTN by passive transfer of rabbit anti-glomerular antibodies into Fn14 knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. Severe proteinuria as well as renal histopathology were induced in WT but not in Fn14 KO mice. Similarly, a pharmacologic approach of anti-TWEAK mAb administration into WT mice in the NTN model significantly ameliorated proteinuria and improved kidney histology. Anti-TWEAK treatment did not affect the generation of mouse anti-rabbit antibodies; however, within the kidney there was a significant decrease in glomerular immunoglobulin deposition, as well as macrophage infiltrates and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The mechanism of action is most likely due to reductions in downstream targets of TWEAK/Fn14 signaling, including reduced renal expression of MCP-1, VCAM-1, IP-10, RANTES as well as Fn14 itself, and other molecular pathways associated with fibrosis in anti-TWEAK treated mice. Thus, TWEAK/Fn14 interactions are instrumental in the pathogenesis of nephritis in the NTN model, apparently mediating a cascade of pathologic events locally in the kidney rather than by impacting the systemic immune response. Disrupting TWEAK/Fn14 interactions may be an innovative kidney-protective approach for the treatment of lupus nephritis and other antibody-induced renal diseases.
- Nephrotoxic serum nephritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy