Defects in the renal fatty acid oxidation (FAO) pathway have been implicated in the development of renal fibrosis. Although, compared with young kidneys, aged kidneys show significantly increased fibrosis with impaired kidney function, the mechanisms underlying the effects of aging on renal fibrosis have not been investigated. In this study, we investigated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor a (PPARα) and the FAO pathway as regulators of age-associated renal fibrosis. The expression of PPARα and the FAO pathway-associated proteins significantly decreased with the accumulation of lipids in the renal tubular epithelial region during aging in rats. In particular, decreased PPARα protein expression associated with increased expression of PPARα-targeting microRNAs. Among the microRNAs with increased expression during aging, miR-21 efficiently decreased PPARα expression and impaired FAO when ectopically expressed in renal epithelial cells. In cells pretreated with oleic acid to induce lipid stress, miR-21 treatment further enhanced lipid accumulation. Furthermore, treatment with miR-21 significantly exacerbated the TGF-β-induced fibroblast phenotype of epithelial cells. We verified the physiologic importance of our findings in a calorie restriction model. Calorie restriction rescued the impaired FAO pathway during aging and slowed fibrosis development. Finally, compared with kidneys of aged littermatecontrols, kidneysofaged PPARα -/ mice showed exaggerated lipid accumulation, with decreased activity of the FAO pathway and a severe fibrosis phenotype. Our results suggest that impaired renal PPARα signaling during aging aggravates renal fibrosis development, and targeting PPARα is useful for preventing age-associated CKD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP: Minister of Science, ICT, and Future Planning) (grant Nos. 2009-0083538, 2013M3A9B6076431 and 2015R1A2A2A01004137), and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the NRF funded by the MSIP (grant No. 2015M3A9B8029074).
© Copyright 2018 by the American Society of Nephrology.