Research Papers:

RhoA/Rho-kinase triggers epithelial-mesenchymal transition in mesothelial cells and contributes to the pathogenesis of dialysis-related peritoneal fibrosis

Qinglian Wang _, Xiaowei Yang, Ying Xu, Zhenwei Shen, Hongxia Cheng, Fajuan Cheng, Xiang Liu and Rong Wang

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:14397-14412. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24208

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Qinglian Wang1, Xiaowei Yang1, Ying Xu1, Zhenwei Shen2, Hongxia Cheng3, Fajuan Cheng1, Xiang Liu1 and Rong Wang1

1Department of Nephrology, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China

2Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Shandong University, Jinan, China

3Department of Pathology, Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China

Correspondence to:

Xiang Liu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: peritoneal dialysis; peritoneal fibrosis; EMT; RhoA/Rho-kinase; AGEs

Received: April 03, 2017     Accepted: December 05, 2017     Epub: January 12, 2018     Published: March 06, 2018


Peritoneal fibrosis (PF) with associated peritoneal dysfunction is almost invariably observed in long-term peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are pro-oxidant compounds produced in excess during the metabolism of glucose and are present in high levels in standard PD solutions. The GTPase RhoA has been implicated in PF, but its specific role remains poorly understood. Here, we studied the effects of RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling in AGEs-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs), and evaluated morphological and molecular changes in a rat model of PD-related PF. Activation of RhoA/Rho-kinase and activating protein-1 (AP-1) was assessed in HPMCs using pull-down and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, respectively, while expression of transforming growth factor-β, fibronectin, α-smooth muscle actin, vimentin, N-cadherin, and E-cadherin expression was assessed using immunohistochemistry and western blot. AGEs exposure activated Rho/Rho-kinase in HPMCs and upregulated EMT-related genes via AP-1. These changes were prevented by the Rho-kinase inhibitors fasudil and Y-27632, and by the AP-1 inhibitor curcumin. Importantly, fasudil normalized histopathological and molecular alterations and preserved peritoneal function in rats. These data support the therapeutic potential of Rho-kinase inhibitors in PD-related PF.

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