Proteolysis and inflammation of the kidney glomerulus

Cell Tissue Res. 2021 Aug;385(2):489-500. doi: 10.1007/s00441-021-03433-8. Epub 2021 Apr 17.


Proteases play a central role in regulating renal pathophysiology and are increasingly evaluated as actionable drug targets. Here, we review the role of proteolytic systems in inflammatory kidney disease. Inflammatory kidney diseases are associated with broad dysregulations of extracellular and intracellular proteolysis. As an example of a proteolytic system, the complement system plays a significant role in glomerular inflammatory kidney disease and is currently under clinical investigation. Based on two glomerular kidney diseases, lupus nephritis, and membranous nephropathy, we portrait two proteolytic pathomechanisms and the role of the complement system. We discuss how profiling proteolytic activity in patient samples could be used to stratify patients for more targeted interventions in inflammatory kidney diseases. We also describe novel comprehensive, quantitative tools to investigate the entirety of proteolytic processes in a tissue sample. Emphasis is placed on mass spectrometric approaches that enable the comprehensive analysis of the complement system, as well as protease activities and regulation in general.

Keywords: Complement system; Proteases; Renal pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology*
  • Proteolysis