Targeted expression of a dominant-negative EGF-R in the kidney reduces tubulo-interstitial lesions after renal injury

J Clin Invest. 2000 Jul;106(2):225-34. doi: 10.1172/JCI8315.


The role of EGF in the evolution of renal lesions after injury is still controversial. To determine whether the EGF expression is beneficial or detrimental, we generated transgenic mice expressing a COOH-terminal-truncated EGF-R under the control of the kidney-specific type 1 gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase promoter. As expected, the transgene was expressed exclusively at the basolateral membrane of proximal tubular cells. Under basal conditions, transgenic mice showed normal renal morphology and function. Infusion of EGF to transgenic animals revealed that the mutant receptor behaved in a dominant-negative manner and prevented EGF-signaled EGF-R autophosphorylation. We next evaluated the impact of transgene expression on the development of renal lesions in two models of renal injury. After 75% reduction of renal mass, tubular dilations were less severe in transgenic mice than in wild-type animals. After prolonged renal ischemia, tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis were reduced in transgenic mice as compared with wild-type mice. The beneficial effect of the transgene included a reduction of tubular cell proliferation, interstitial collagen accumulation, and mononuclear cell infiltration. In conclusion, functional inactivation of the EGF-R in renal proximal tubular cells reduced tubulo-interstitial lesions after renal injury. These data suggest that blocking the EGF pathway may be a therapeutic strategy to reduce the progression of chronic renal failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Collagen / biosynthesis
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Ischemia / complications*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nephrectomy / adverse effects*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Renal Insufficiency / therapy
  • Signal Transduction


  • Collagen
  • ErbB Receptors