Macrophages are required for tissue homeostasis through their role in regulation of the immune response and the resolution of injury. Here we show, using the kidney as a model, that the Wnt pathway ligand Wnt7b is produced by macrophages to stimulate repair and regeneration. When macrophages are inducibly ablated from the injured kidney, the canonical Wnt pathway response in kidney epithelial cells is reduced. Furthermore, when Wnt7b is somatically deleted in macrophages, repair of injury is greatly diminished. Finally, injection of the Wnt pathway regulator Dkk2 enhances the repair process and suggests a therapeutic option. Because Wnt7b is known to stimulate epithelial responses during kidney development, these findings suggest that macrophages are able to rapidly invade an injured tissue and reestablish a developmental program that is beneficial for repair and regeneration.
PubMed ID: 20160075
PMC ID: PMC2840080
Article link: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
Grant support: CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , CA131270 NCI NIH HHS , DK054364 NIDDK NIH HHS , DK73299 NIDDK NIH HHS , DK84077 NIDDK NIH HHS , DK87389 NIDDK NIH HHS , EY15766 NEI NIH HHS , EY17848 NEI NIH HHS , R01S EY16241 NEI NIH HHS
Genes referenced: csf1r dkk2 fzd4 gal.2 lrp5 lrp6 wnt7b
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|Fig. 1. Injured proximal tubule epithelial cells are Wnt-pathway-responsive, and inflammatory macrophages are a source of Wnt ligands in the kidney during repair following injury. (A–C) Photomicrographs of whole-mount X-gal-stained BATgal kidneys indicating Wnt pathway responses. (D and E) Sections from day 5 injured kidneys from BATgal mice labeled for nuclei (blue), Lacz (green), the proximal epithelial tubule marker LTL (D), or the macrophage marker F4/80 (E). Epithelial cells but not macrophages are Lacz-positive. (F–H) X-gal staining for Wnt signaling activity in Axin2+/LacZ kidneys. In F, arrowheads indicate epithelial cells of flattened morphology typical of severe injury that contrasts with cuboidal morphology shown by arrowheads in uninjured kidney (G). Injured tubules contain necrotic debris (F, nec), whereas uninjured tubules do not (G, asterisks). X-gal staining is prominent in epithelial cells of Axin2+/LacZ kidneys (H and I, arrowheads). (I and J) Sections from day 5 injured kidneys from Axin2+/LacZ mice labeled for nuclei (blue), Lacz (green), the fibroblast marker α-SMA (I), or the macrophage marker F4/80 (J). In I, Lacz-positive fibroblasts are seen (arrows). (K) Semiquantitative RT-PCR for transcript levels of Wnt-signaling-pathway ligands and receptors in whole kidney or purified cell types (C, normal control; I, d5 postinjury; P, peripheral blood monocytes). Red arrowheads indicate up-regulated transcripts. All studies were repeated at least three times and gave comparable results. *P < 0.05. (Scale bars, 50 μm.)|
|Fig. 3. Mutation of Frizzled4 or coreceptors Lrp5 and Lrp6 prevents normal repair and regeneration of the kidney following ischemia reperfusion injury. (A and B) Lacz staining in d5 post-IRI kidney showing restriction of Fzd4 expression to epithelial tubules and (C) low- (top left) and high-power views (split color panels) showing Fzd4 receptor expression is not present in F4/80+ macrophages in postinjury kidneys. (D–G) PAS-stained sections of normal (D and F) and d5 post-IRI kidneys (E and G) showing persistence of epithelial injury in mice lacking Fzd4 (Fzd4LacZ/LacZ). (H–L) Quantification of inflammation, injury, and repair parameters 5d post-kidney-IRI injury in Fzd4LacZ/LacZ or littermate control mice. (M–R) PAS-stained sections of kidneys. (S and T) Quantification of inflammation, injury, and repair parameters in WT or Lrp5+/lacz; Lrp6+/lacz kidneys. P < 0.05. n = 5 or 6/group. (Scale bars, 50 μm.) Asterisks, regenerating tubules; arrowheads, injured flattened epithelia; nec, necrotic debris.|