Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are produced predominantly by gut microbiota fermentation of dietary fiber. SCFAs are newly identified as endogenous ligands of two orphan G protein-coupled receptors, GPR41 and GPR43, which have the potential to modulate inflammation. Therefore, GPR41 and GPR43 may mediate the link between the gut microbiome status and various disease conditions including renal inflammation. This study aimed at investigating whether SCFAs activate GPR41 and GPR43, and thereby exert anti-inflammatory effects in human renal cortical epithelial cells (HRCEs) as a main component of kidney tissue. Immunohistochemical analyses of human renal biopsy specimens revealed the expression of GPR41 and GPR43 protein in the distal renal tubules and collecting tubules. TNF-α increased the expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), a potential fibrotic inducer, at least partly via enhancing phosphorylation of p38 and JNK in HRCEs. SCFAs, especially propionate, attenuated TNF-α- stimulated MCP-1 expression by inhibiting the phosphorylation of p38 and JNK. This inhibitory effect was considerably attenuated by an inactivator of the Gi/o-type G protein and a Gβγ (i/o) blocker, but not by a Gα (i/o) blocker. Furthermore, SCFA-mediated inhibition of MCP-1 expression was significantly blocked by siRNA-induced gene silencing of GPR41 and GPR43. In conclusion, SCFAs lowered TNF-α-induced MCP-1 expression by reducing phosphorylation of p38 and JNK in a GPR41/43-dependent manner in HRCEs, suggesting that SCFA modification may be a new therapeutic tool for preventing progression of renal inflammation and fibrosis.
Keywords: GPR41; GPR43; JNK; Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; SCFA; p38.
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