Interstitial fibrosis, a common pathological feature of chronic kidney diseases, is often associated with apoptosis in renal tissues. To determine the associated apoptotic pathway and its role in renal interstitial fibrosis, we established a mouse model in which Bax and Bak, two critical genes in the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis, were deleted specifically from kidney proximal tubules and used this model to examine renal apoptosis and interstitial fibrosis following unilateral urethral obstruction (UUO). It was shown that double knockout of Bax and Bak from proximal tubules attenuated renal tubular cell apoptosis and suppressed renal interstitial fibrosis in UUO. The results indicate that the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis contributes significantly to the tubular apoptosis and renal interstitial fibrosis in kidney diseases.
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