The expression of certain growth factors in the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family is altered in response to renal injury. Recent studies have demonstrated that heparin binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) expression may be cytoprotective in response to apoptotic signals. The purpose of tiffs study was to investigate the potential role of HB-EGF in the upper urinary tract following unilateral ureteral obstruction. We present evidence that: i) ureteral obstruction induced cell-specific but transient activation of HB-EGF gene expression; ii) HB-EGF expression in renal epithelial cells increased under conditions where mechanical deformation, such as that caused by hydronephrotic distension, induces apoptosis, but HB-EGF expression did not increase in renal pelvis smooth muscle cells under identical conditions; and iii) enforced expression of HB-EGF served to protect renal epithelial cells from stretch-induced apoptosis. These results suggest a potential mechanism by which the kidney protects itself from apoptosis triggered by urinary tract obstruction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine