Wei Q, Su J, Dong G, Zhang M, Huo Y, Dong Z. Glycolysis inhibitors suppress renal interstitial fibrosis via divergent effects on fibroblasts and tubular cells. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 316: F1162– F1172, 2019. First published April 10, 2019; doi:10.1152/ajpre-nal.00422.2018.—Renal interstitial fibrosis is a common pathological feature of chronic kidney disease that may involve changes of metabolism in kidney cells. In the present study, we first showed that blockade of glycolysis with either dichloroacetate (DCA) or shikonin to target different glycolytic enzymes reduced renal fibrosis in a mouse model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). Both inhibitors evidently suppressed the induction of fibronectin and collagen type I in obstructed kidneys, with DCA also showing inhibitory effects on collagen type IV and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Histological examination also confirmed less collagen deposition in DCA-treated kidneys. Both DCA and shikonin significantly inhibited renal tubular apoptosis but not interstitial apoptosis in UUO. Macrophage infiltration after UUO injury was also suppressed. Shikonin, but not DCA, caused obvious animal weight loss during UUO. To determine whether shikonin and DCA worked on tubular cells and/or fibroblasts, we tested their effects on cultured renal proximal tubular BUMPT cells and renal NRK-49F fibroblasts during hypoxia or transforming growth factor-β1 treatment. Although both inhibitors reduced fibronectin and α-SMA production in NRK-49F cells during hypoxia or transforming growth factor-β1 treatment, they did not suppress fibronectin and α-SMA expression in BUMPT cells. Altogether, these results demonstrate the inhibitory effect of glycolysis inhibitors on renal interstitial fibrosis. In this regard, DCA is more potent for fibrosis inhibition and less toxic to animals than shikonin.
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