Melatonin enhances endogenous heme oxygenase-1 and represses immune responses to ameliorate experimental murine membranous nephropathy

Authors

  • Chia-Chao Wu,

    1. Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Kuo-Cheng Lu,

    1. Department of Medicine, Cardinal Tien Hospital, School of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
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  • Gu-Jiun Lin,

    1. Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Biology and Anatomy, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Hsin-Yi Hsieh,

    1. Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Pauling Chu,

    1. Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Shih-Hua Lin,

    1. Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Huey-Kang Sytwu

    1. Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan
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Address reprint requests to Chia-Chao Wu, Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, 325 Cheng-Kung Road, Section 2, Nei-Hu, Taipei 114, Taiwan.
E-mail: wucc@ndmctsgh.edu.tw

Abstract

Abstract:  Idiopathic membranous nephropathy (MN), an autoimmune-mediated glomerulonephritis, is one of the most common causes of nephrotic syndrome in adults. Therapeutic agents for MN remain ill defined. We assessed the efficacy of melatonin therapy for MN. Experimental murine MN was induced with cationic bovine serum albumin, and the mice were immediately administered 20 mg/kg melatonin or phosphate-buffered saline subcutaneously once a day. Disease severity was verified by examining serum and urine metabolic profiles and renal histopathology. The expression of cytokines and oxidative stress markers, cell apoptosis, and the associated mechanisms were also determined. Mice treated with melatonin displayed a significant reduction in proteinuria and a marked amelioration of glomerular lesions, with attenuated immunocomplex deposition. The subpopulations of T cells were not altered, but the CD19+ B-cell subpopulation was significantly reduced in the MN mice treated with melatonin. The expression of cytokine mRNAs in splenocytes indicated that melatonin reduced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and increased the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 10). The production of reactive oxygen species and TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells in the kidney were also significantly reduced in the melatonin-treated MN mice. Melatonin also upregulated heme oxygenase 1 (HO1) and ameliorated MN. The blockade of HO1 expression with SnPP, a HO1 inhibitor, attenuated HO1 induction by melatonin and thus mitigated its renoprotective effects during MN. Our results suggest that melatonin treatment ameliorates experimental MN via multiple pathways, including by its antioxidative, antiapoptotic, and immunomodulatory effects. Melatonin should be considered a potential therapeutic intervention for MN in the future.

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