Meprin metalloproteinases have been implicated in the pathophysiology of ischemia/reperfusion (IR)-induced kidney injury. Previous in vitro data showed that meprin β proteolytically processes interleukin-6 (IL-6) resulting in its inactivation. Recently, meprin-β was also shown to cleave the IL-6 receptor. The goal of this study was to determine how meprin β expression impacts IL-6 and downstream modulators of the JAK2-STAT3-mediated signaling pathway in IR-induced kidney injury. IR was induced in 12-week-old male wild-type (WT) and meprin β knockout (βKO) mice and kidneys obtained at 24 h post-IR. Real-time PCR, western blot, and immunostaining/microscopy approaches were used to quantify mRNA and protein levels respectively, and immunofluorescence counterstaining with proximal tubule (PT) markers to determine protein localization. The mRNA levels for IL-6, CASP3 and BCL-2 increased significantly in both genotypes. Interestingly, western blot data showed increases in protein levels for IL-6, CASP3, and BCL-2 in the βKO but not in WT kidneys. However, immunohistochemical data showed increases in IL-6, CASP3, and BCL-2 proteins in select kidney tubules in both genotypes, shown to be PTs by immunofluorescence counterstaining. IR-induced increases in p-STAT-3 and p-JAK-2 in βKO at a global level but immunoflourescence counterstaining demonstrated p-JAK2 and p-STAT3 increases in select PT for both genotypes. BCL-2 increased only in the renal corpuscle of WT kidneys, suggesting a role for meprins expressed in leukocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed higher levels of leukocyte infiltration in WT kidneys when compared to βKO kidneys. The present data demonstrate that meprin β modulates IR-induced kidney injury in part via IL-6/JAK2/STAT3-mediated signaling.
Keywords: JAK2/STAT3 signaling; interleukin-6; ischemia/reperfusion; meprin β; metalloproteinase.
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