Renal release of N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline is part of an antifibrotic peptidergic system in the kidney

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American journal of physiology. Renal physiology


The antifibrotic peptide N-acetyl-seryl-aspartyl-lysyl-proline (Ac-SDKP) is released from thymosin-β4 (Tβ4) by the meprin-α and prolyl oligopeptidase (POP) enzymes and is hydrolyzed by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Ac-SDKP is present in urine; however, it is not clear whether de novo tubular release occurs or if glomerular filtration is the main source. We hypothesized that Ac-SDKP is released into the lumen of the nephrons and that it exerts an antifibrotic effect. We determined the presence of Tβ4, meprin-α, and POP in the kidneys of Sprague-Dawley rats. The stop-flow technique was used to evaluate Ac-SDKP formation in different nephron segments. Finally, we decreased Ac-SDKP formation by inhibiting the POP enzyme and evaluated the long-term effect in renal fibrosis. The Tβ4 precursor and the releasing enzymes meprin-α and POP were expressed in the kidneys. POP enzyme activity was almost double that in the renal medulla compared with the renal cortex. With the use of the stop-flow technique, we detected the highest Ac-SDKP concentrations in the distal nephron. The infusion of a POP inhibitor into the kidney decreased the amount of Ac-SDKP in distal nephron segments and in the proximal nephron to a minor extent. An ACE inhibitor increased the Ac-SDKP content in all nephron segments, but the increase was highest in the distal portion. The chronic infusion of a POP inhibitor increased kidney medullary fibrosis, which was prevented by Ac-SDKP. We conclude that Ac-SDKP is released by the nephron and is part of an important antifibrotic system in the kidney.

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