Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is one of the candidate factors mediating fibrogenic activity of TGF-β. It was shown previously that the blockade of CTGF by antisense oligonucleotide (ODN) inhibits TGF-β-induced production of fibronectin and type I collagen in cultured renal fibroblasts. The in vivo contribution of CTGF in renal interstitial fibrosis, however, remains to be clarified. With the use of a hydrodynamics-based gene transfer technique, the effects of CTGF antisense ODN are investigated in rat kidneys with unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). FITC-labeled ODN injection via the renal vein showed that the ODN was specifically introduced into the interstitium. At day 7 after UUO, the gene expression of CTGF, fibronectin, fibronectin ED-A, and α1(I) collagen in untreated or control ODN-treated obstructed kidneys was prominently upregulated. CTGF antisense ODN treatment, by contrast, markedly attenuated the induction of CTGF, fibronectin, fibronectin ED-A, and α1(I) collagen genes, whereas TGF-β gene upregulation was not affected. The antisense treatment also reduced interstitial deposition of CTGF, fibronectin ED-A, and type I collagen and the interstitial fibrotic areas. The number of myofibroblasts determined by the expression of α-smooth muscle actin was significantly decreased as well. Proliferation of tubular and interstitial cells was not altered with the treatment. These findings indicate that CTGF expression in the interstitium plays a crucial role in the progression of interstitial fibrosis but not in the proliferation of tubular and interstitial cells during UUO. CTGF may become a potential therapeutic target against tubulointerstitial fibrosis.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of the American Society of Nephrology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2004|
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