The expression of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) in DBA/2-pcylpcy (pcy) mice, a murine model of polycystic kidney disease was investigated. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive cells were recognized in cyst epithelium from embryonic day 14.5 to 25 wk of age. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was expressed in the renal tubules of control and pcy mice, but stronger immunostaining was observed in cyst epithelium. Phosphorylated ERK was detected only in pcy mice and was localized predominantly in the cysts. p38 MAPK (p38) was no longer expressed after birth in controls but was detected in the cyst epithelium and in occasional tubular cells of pcy mice at all stages examined. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was expressed in all tubular segments of controls after neonatal day 7, whereas in pcy kidneys, tubules became positive for JNK after 8 wk, and the cysts expressed little JNK. Administration of an oral MAP/ERK kinase inhibitor, PD184352, 400 mg/kg per d, to 10-wk-old pcy mice daily for the first week and then every third day for 6 additional weeks significantly decreased BP, kidney weight, serum creatinine level, and water intake and significantly increased urine osmolality. The cystic index and expression of phosphorylated ERK and ERK were significantly lower in PD184352-treated pcy mice. These results demonstrate that the expression of MAPK is dysregulated in cyst epithelium and that inhibition of ERK slowed the progression of renal disease in pcy mice.
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