For defining the pathogenic effects of the (pro)renin receptor-transgenic rat, strains that overexpressed the human receptor were generated. Although transgenic rats were normotensive and euglycemic and had a renal angiotensin II (AngII) level that was comparable to that of wild-type rats, transgenic rats developed proteinuria with aging and significant glomerulosclerosis at 28 wk of age. In kidneys of 28-wk-old transgenic rats, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) were activated without recognizable tyrosine phosphorylation of the EGF receptor, and expression of TGF-β1 was enhanced. In vivo infusion of the (pro)renin receptor blocker peptide (formerly handle region decoy peptide) significantly inhibited the development of glomerulosclerosis, proteinuria, MAPK activation, and TGF-β1 expression in the kidneys, but the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor did not attenuate these changes despite a significant decrease in the renal AngII level. In addition, recombinant rat prorenin stimulated MAPK activation in the human receptor-expressed cultured cells, but human receptor was unable to evoke the enzyme activity of rat prorenin. Thus, human (pro)renin receptor elicits slowly progressive nephropathy by AngII-independent MAPK activation in rats. This study clearly provided in vivo evidence for the AngII-independent MAPK activation by human (pro)renin receptor and induction of glomerulosclerosis with increased TGF-β1 expression.
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