Novel aspects of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis

Winbanks, C 2006, Novel aspects of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Medical Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Novel aspects of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis
Author(s) Winbanks, C
Year 2006
Abstract Tubulointerstitial fibrosis is the key histological predictor of the progression of declining renal function and the final common pathway of progressive kidney disease, regardless of aetiology. Despite its significance, there are currently no treatments available to abrogate this process and those that suffer with this burden eventually succumb to renal failure. Tubulointerstitial fibrosis is largely mediated by fibroblasts and myofibroblasts present in the interstitium. In response to injury, activated fibroblasts differentiate into myofibroblasts which serves as a histological hallmark of fibrosis. Myofibroblasts are characterised as the key contributors to interstitial volume and their presence ultimately leads to loss of renal function.

The pathological entities leading to fibrosis inextricably depend on complex signalling pathways. Whilst many of the well-known growth factors that exert effects on renal fibroblasts (such as FGF, EGF and PDGF) involve the activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, the intracellular signalling events dictating the response of fibroblasts remain undefined. The kinase mTOR, responsible for integrating stress and amino acids and controlling cell growth, is increasingly recognised for its ability to integrate growth factor signals mediated through the upstream serine/threonine kinase PI3K. A number of recent studies have highlighted the role of PI3K and mTOR in the regulation of key events relevant to fibrosis, serving as a basis for Chapter 3: The role of PI3K and mTOR in the regulation of fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis, and the first part of Chapter 5: The role of PI3K and mTOR in the regulation of myofibroblast differentiation. These studies have identified a key role for PI3K and mTOR in the regulation of fibroblast proliferation, differentiation and collagen synthesis.

The work described within has also attempted to examine the derivation of myofibroblasts via EMT. EMT is a process that is integral to embryogenesis and may act as an important source of myofibroblasts during fibrosis. This process is examined in Chapter 4: Development and validation of an ex vivo model of EMT. This model aims to better represent the in vivo environment and has also been used to identify novel regulators involved in EMT being utilised in the second part of Chapter 5: The role of PI3K and mTOR in EMT.

Although cytokines and growth factors are thought to be chiefly responsible for tubulointerstitial fibrosis, we now know that serine proteases of the coagulation cascade may also play roles in renal disease. However, unlike their role in glomerular diseases, the role of coagulation in tubulointerstitial fibrosis is less well-known. The work described in Chapter 6: Constituents of the coagulation cascade are spatially and functionally related to experimental tubulointerstitial fibrosis has examined temporal and spatial in vivo relationships of coagulation factors and markers of fibrosis that aid our understanding of mechanisms of fibrosis.

The aim of this thesis was to examine those facets of renal fibroblast function that are most devastating to renal function and culminate in an expansion of the renal interstitium during fibrosis. This work hopes to provide useful information to aid the understanding of the multifaceted mechanisms involved in renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Medical Sciences
Keyword(s) Kidney diseases
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Created: Mon, 31 Jan 2011, 10:27:56 EST
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