Local complement factor H protects kidney endothelial cell structure and function

Kidney Int. 2021 Oct;100(4):824-836. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2021.05.033. Epub 2021 Jun 15.


Factor H (FH) is a critical regulator of the alternative complement pathway and its deficiency or mutation underlie kidney diseases such as dense deposit disease. Since vascular dysfunction is an important facet of kidney disease, maintaining optimal function of the lining endothelial cells is important for vascular health. To investigate the molecular mechanisms that are regulated by FH in endothelial cells, FH deficient and sufficient mouse kidney endothelial cell cultures were established. Endothelial FH deficiency resulted in cytoskeletal remodeling, increased angiogenic potential, loss of cellular layer integrity and increased cell proliferation. FH reconstitution prevented these FH-dependent proliferative changes. Respiratory flux analysis showed reduced basal mitochondrial respiration, ATP production and maximal respiratory capacity in FH deficient endothelial cells, while proton leak remained unaltered. Similar changes were observed in FH deficient human glomerular endothelial cells indicating the translational potential of these studies. Gene expression analysis revealed that the FH-dependent gene changes in mouse kidney endothelial cells include significant upregulation of genes involved in inflammation and the complement system. The transcription factor nuclear factor-kB, that regulates many biological processes, was translocated from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the absence of FH. Thus, our studies show the functional relevance of intrinsic FH in kidney endothelial cells in man and mouse.

Keywords: NanoString; complement; endothelial cells; kidney.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Complement Factor H* / genetics
  • Complement Pathway, Alternative
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Diseases*
  • Mice


  • Complement Factor H