Background: Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGF)-AA and -CC mediate renal fibroblast proliferation and/or renal fibrosis. Whereas PDGF-CC binds to both the PDGF receptors (PDGFRs)-αα- and -αβ, PDGF-AA binds more selectively to the αα-receptor, suggesting potential differences in the biological activities.
Methods: We compared signal transduction, gene expression as well as changes in the proteome induced by PDGF-AA and -CC in rat renal fibroblasts, which express both PDGFR subunits. The growth factor concentrations used were chosen based on their equipotency in inducing rat renal fibroblast proliferation.
Results: Both PDGF-AA and PDGF-CC induced phosphorylation and activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK1) and ERK2. Renal fibroblast proliferation induced by either PDGF-AA or -CC could be blocked by signal transduction inhibitors of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-, Janus-kinase (JAK)/signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) and phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, pointing to the involvement of all the three pathways. However, quantitative differences between both the stimulations were minor. Additive or synergistic effects by stimulating simultaneously with PDGF-AA and -CC were not observed. Using a proteomic approach we found eleven differentially expressed proteins, which were quantitatively altered after treatment with either PDGF-AA or PDGF-CC. The regulation of calreticulin and inorganic pyrophosphatase 1 could be verified by western blotting.
Conclusions: PDGF-AA and -CC exhibit almost identical biological effects on signal transduction and proteome in cultured renal fibroblasts, suggesting that the ligands exert their activity essentially through the commonly bound PDGFR-αα. Nonetheless, two differentially expressed proteins were identified which might be involved in the development of renal failure.