Slit2 ameliorates renal inflammation and fibrosis after hypoxia-and lipopolysaccharide-induced epithelial cells injury in vitro

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Hypoxic acute kidney injury (AKI) is often incompletely repaired and leads to chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is characterized by tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis. The Slit2 family of secreted glycoproteins is expressed in the kidney, it has been shown to exert an anti-inflammatory activity and prevent ischemic renal injury in vivo. However, whether Slit2 reduces renal fibrosis and inflammation after hypoxic and inflammatory epithelial cells injury in vitro remains unknown. In this study, we aimed to evaluate whether Slit2 ameliorated fibrosis and inflammation in two renal epithelial cells line challenged with hypoxia and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Renal epithelial cells were treated with hypoxia and LPS to induce cell injury. Hoechst staining and Western blot analysis was conducted to examine epithelial cells injury. Immunofluorescence staining and Western blot analysis was performed to evaluate tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tested the inflammatory factor interleukin (IL)−1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and Western blot analysis determined the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)−1α, Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB. Results revealed that hypoxia induced epithelial cells apoptosis, inflammatory factor IL-1β and TNF-α release and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. LPS could exacerbate hypoxia -induced epithelial cells apoptosis, IL-1β and TNF-α release and fibrosis. Slit2 reduced the expression of fibronectin, the rate of epithelial cell apoptosis, and the expression of inflammatory factor. Slit2 could also inhibit the expression of TLR4 and NF-κB, but not the expression of HIF-1α. Therefore, Slit2 attenuated inflammation and fibrosis after LPS- and hypoxia-induced epithelial cells injury via the TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway, but not depending on the HIF-1α signaling pathway.

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