Proximal tubular cell synthesis and secretion of endothelin-1 on challenge with albumin and other proteins

Carla Zoja, Marina Morigi, Marina Figliuzzi, Isabella Bruzzi, Simon Oldroyd, Ariela Benigni, Pierre Ronco, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abnormal traffic of proteins through the glomerular capillary has an intrinsic renal toxicity possibly linked to the subsequent process of over-reabsorption by proximal tubular cells. We investigated in vitro the effect of different protein concentrations on proximal tubular cell endothelin-1 (ET-1) synthesis. Rabbit proximal tubular RC.SV1 cell line was grown to confluence in serum-free hormonally defined medium. Cells were incubated for 6 and 24 hours with serum-free medium containing bovine serum albumin (BSA, 0.1 to 10 mg/mL). ET-1, a locally released hormone that stimulates cell proliferation and promotes extracellular matrix protein synthesis, was measured in cell supernatant by radioimmunoassay. BSA induced a significant dose-dependent increase in proximal tubular cell ET-1 synthesis. BSA and fatty acid-free BSA stimulated tubular ET-1 synthesis and release to a comparable extent, indicating that the lipid component of the molecule is not involved in the observed phenomenon. Experiments in which tubular cells grown on filters in bicameral systems were incubated with BSA (10 mg/mL) showed that ET-1 release was predominantly basolateral. The stimulatory effect on tubular ET-1 synthesis and release was not specific to albumin but was shared by immunoglobulin (Ig) G and transferrin. Exposure of proximal tubular cells for 6 and 24 hours to both proteins (1 and 10 mg/mL) resulted in a dose-dependent increase in ET-1 synthesis. These data suggest that overexposure of proximal tubular cells to proteins, as it occurs in vivo in proteinuric renal diseases, may promote excessive tubular synthesis of ET-1, which is mostly secreted toward the interstitial compartment. Because ET-1 in addition to its vasoactive properties stimulates infiltration of macrophages and promotes interstitial fibroblast proliferation and extracellular matrix synthesis, enhanced tubular ET-1 production could be a factor that mediates tubulointerstitial fibrosis and renal disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-941
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • albumin
  • Endothelin-1
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • proximal tubular cells
  • transferrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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