The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib attenuates renal fibrosis in mice via the suppression of TGF-β1

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 12;7(1):13086. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13486-x.


Kidney fibrosis and fibrogenesis significantly exacerbate chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression and are essential therapeutic targets. Bortezomib (BZM) is a proteasome inhibitor used for the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). Several studies have demonstrated that BZM attenuates renal impairment in patients with MM, although this effect is generally considered to be the result of MM remission. Recently, several studies on BZM reported anti-fibrotic effects on liver and skin in experimental animal models. However, its effect on renal fibrosis has yet to be examined. Here, we investigated the anti-fibrotic effects of BZM in an experimental mouse model of fibrosis that uses aristolochic acid I (AA). Ten weeks of AA administration with BZM treatment twice a week significantly attenuated AA-induced renal dysfunction and albuminuria, reduced the expression of renal fibrosis-related proteins and kidney injury markers, such as αSMA, Kim1, and Ngal, and prevented renal fibrosis at the level of histopathology. Furthermore, pathological activation of TGFβ1-Smad3 signaling and apoptosis, essential pathophysiological causes of AA-induced nephropathy (AAN), were ameliorated by BZM, suggesting this mechanism may be involved in improving fibrosis in AAN. In conclusion, BZM directly inhibits renal fibrosis in CKD via suppression of TGFβ1-Smad3 signaling and is promising in terms of drug repositioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aristolochic Acids / toxicity*
  • Bortezomib / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibrosis / chemically induced
  • Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism*


  • Aristolochic Acids
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Bortezomib
  • aristolochic acid I