The CXCL12 (SDF-1)/CXCR4 axis is essential for the development of renal vasculature

Yoshitsugu Takabatake, Tatsuki Sugiyama, Hiroshi Kohara, Taiji Matsusaka, Hidetake Kurihara, Pandelakis A. Koni, Yasuyuki Nagasawa, Takayuki Hamano, Isao Matsui, Noritaka Kawada, Enyu Imai, Takashi Nagasawa, Hiromi Rakugi, Yoshitaka Isaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


CXC chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12; stromal cell-derived factor 1) is a unique homeostatic chemokine that signals through its cognate receptor, CXCR4. CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is essential for the formation of blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract during development, but its contribution to renal development remains unclear. Here, we found that CXCL12-secreting stromal cells surround CXCR4-positive epithelial components of early nephrons and blood vessels in the embryonic kidney. In glomeruli, we observed CXCL12-secreting podocytes in close proximity to CXCR4-positive endothelial cells. Both CXCL12- and CXCR4-deficient kidneys exhibited identical phenotypes; there were no apparent abnormalities in early nephrogenesis or in differentiation of podocytes and tubules, but there was defective formation of blood vessels, including ballooning of the developing glomerular tuft and disorganized patterning of the renal vasculature. To clarify the relative importance of different cellular defects resulting from ablation of CXCL12 and CXCR4, we established endothelial cell-specific CXCR4-deficient mice, which recapitulated the renal phenotypes of conventional CXCR4-deficient mice. We conclude that CXCL12 secreted from stromal cells or podocytes acts on endothelial cells to regulate vascular development in the kidney. These findings suggest new potential therapeutic targets for remodeling the injured kidney.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1723
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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