Role of ornithine decarboxylase for proliferation of mesangial cells in culture

Kidney Int. 1991 Oct;40(4):684-90. doi: 10.1038/ki.1991.261.


To elucidate the role of polyamine metabolism in the regulation of mesangial cell growth, we examined the involvement of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the rate limiting enzyme for polyamine synthesis, in the mitogenesis of cultured rat mesangial cells (MCs). Resting MCs, stimulated with fetal calf serum (FCS 10%), showed an induction of ODC activity from undetectable values in resting cells to mean = 5035 nmol CO2/10(10) (range 3157 to 7154, N = 5), which is 25-fold above the detection limit. We found a single peak of ODC activity eight to ten hours after stimulation, declining to 22 to 34% of peak levels after 24 hours. 3H-thymidine (TdR) uptake, an S-phase marker of MC replication, peaked at 24 hours, reaching 10.7-fold values of resting MCs. ODC mRNA levels were low in resting cells. After serum stimulation there was a two- to 10-fold increase in ODC mRNA with a maximum after six hours. ODC activity with similar kinetics but lower peak levels was also induced by incubating MCs with mitogens, such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-AB 20 ng/ml), arginine vasopressin (AVP 10(-7) M), phorbol myristate acetate (PMA 10(-7) M), interleukin 1 alpha and beta (IL-1 alpha 10 U/ml, IL-1 beta 10 U/ml). In the presence of alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), an enzyme-activated irreversible inhibitor of ODC, the growth rate of MCs, assessed by cell counts and by 3H-TdR uptake, was markedly reduced by 62 to 100%. This antiproliferative effect of DFMO could be reversed by addition of putrescine, the reaction product of ODC.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Eflornithine / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Glomerular Mesangium / cytology
  • Glomerular Mesangium / drug effects
  • Glomerular Mesangium / enzymology*
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase / metabolism*
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Polyamines / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Ornithine Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Polyamines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase
  • Eflornithine