IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is the most common primary glomerulonephritis worldwide and defined by the presence of IgA-containing immune complexes in the mesangium that induce an inflammation leading to glomerulonephritis. Since we poorly understand early mechanisms of glomerular injury in IgAN we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) analysis of glomerulus-associated cells using SMARTseq2-technology at the early stage of IgAN in grouped ddY-mice. Cell-specific molecular signatures unraveled a key role of endothelial cells in the early pathogenesis of IgAN, especially in the recruitment and infiltration of immune cells. Mesangial and podocyte cells demonstrated less molecular changes. Several intra-glomerular paracrine pathways were detected, such as mesangial cell-derived Slit3 potentially activating Robo-receptors in podocyte/endothelial cells. Surprisingly, proximal tubular cells were strongly affected at the early stage and potential glomerulo-tubular cell-cell crosstalk pathways were identified. Importantly, many of the cellular transcriptomic signatures identified in this well-established mouse model were also detected in published bulk transcriptomic data in human IgAN. Moreover, we validated the functionality of key cell-cell crosstalk pathways using cell culture models, such as the effect of the Slit-Robo signalling axis. Thus, our study provides important novel molecular insights into the pathogenesis of early IgAN-associated glomerulopathy.
Keywords: IgA nephropathy; glomerulus; single-cell sequencing.
Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.