Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in kidney tubular epithelial cells induced by globotriaosylsphingosine and globotriaosylceramide

Yeo Jin Jeon, Namhee Jung, Joo Won Park, Hae Young Park, Sung Chul Jung

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31 Scopus citations


Fabry disease is a lysosomal storage disorder caused by deficiency of alpha-galactosidase A (a-gal A), which results in the deposition of globotriaosylceramide (Gb3) in the vascular endothelium. Globotriaosylsphingosine (lyso-Gb3), a deacylated Gb3, is also increased in the plasma of patients with Fabry disease. Renal fibrosis is a key feature of advanced Fabry disease patients. Therefore, we evaluated the association of Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 accumulation and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) on tubular epithelial cells of the kidney. In HK2 cells, exogenous treatments of Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 increased the expression of TGF-ß, EMT markers (N-cadherin and a-SMA), and phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT, and decreased the expression of E-cadherin. Lyso-Gb3, rather than Gb3, strongly induced EMT in HK2 cells. In the mouse renal mesangial cell line, SV40 MES 13 cells, Gb3 strongly induced phenotype changes. The EMT induced by Gb3 was inhibited by enzyme a-gal A treatment, but EMT induced by lyso-Gb3 was not abrogated by enzyme treatment. However, TGF-ß receptor inhibitor (TRI, SB525334) inhibited the activation of TGF-ß and EMT markers in HK2 cells with Gb3 and lyso-Gb3 treatments. This study suggested that increased plasma lyso-Gb3 has a crucial role in the development of renal fibrosis through the cell-specific induction of the EMT in Fabry disease, and that TRI treatment, alongside enzyme replacement therapy, could be a potential therapeutic option for patients with Fabry disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136442
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 20 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Jeon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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