Research Article: siRNA-silencing of CD40 attenuates unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced kidney injury in mice

Date Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Alonso Narváez, Roser Guiteras, Anna Sola, Anna Manonelles, Juan Morote, Juan Torras, Josep M. Grinyó, Josep M. Cruzado, Partha Mukhopadhyay.


The costimulatory CD40-CD40L pathway plays a role in kidney inflammation. We have previously reported that renal CD40 upregulation precedes cellular interstitial infiltrate and fibrosis in the unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model. Here we sought to evaluate whether the administration of siRNA-CD40 has a therapeutic effect in a reversible unilateral ureteral obstruction (D-UUO) mice model.

Eight week-old C57BL6J male mice were divided into four groups: Vehicle (Phosphate-buffered saline) (n = 8); siRNA SC (non-specific siRNA) (n = 6); siRNA-CD40 (n = 8) and WT (wild type) (n = 6) mice. UUO was performed with a microvascular clamp. At day 3 after surgery, the ureteral clamp was removed and nephrectomy of the contralateral kidney was performed. Immediately, PBS, siRNA SC (50μg) or siRNA-CD40 (50μg) was administrated via the tail vein. Mice were killed 48h hours after the siRNA or saline administration. Wild type (WT) mice were used as controls. Blood samples were collected for measuring creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Histology and kidney mRNA expression were performed.

The administration of siRNA-CD40 reduced significantly the severity of acute renal failure associated with UUO. Pathologic analysis showed reduction of tubular dilation, interstitial fibrosis, F4/80 macrophage and CD3 (T cell) infiltration in animals treated with siRNA-CD40. Furthermore, kidney mRNA gene expression analysis showed significantly lower levels of macrophage markers (F4/80 and Mannose receptor), fibrosis matrix proteins (Fibronectin, MMP-9, Collagen IV and α-SMA), pro-inflammatory cytokines (iNOS and MCP-1) and the pro-fibrotic molecule TGF-β1 in siRNA-CD40.

The administration of siRNA-CD40 therapy reduces the severity of the acute kidney injury induced by obstructive uropathy and promotes kidney repair. This strategy seems suitable to be tested in humans.

Partial Text

Obstructive nephropathy is a clinical syndrome resulting from structural and functional changes of urinary tract which is a common cause of Chronic kidney disease[1].

In this work, we have investigated the progression of obstructive nephropathy lesions in the D-UUO mouse model in which CD40 expression was silenced “in vivo” with a specific siRNA. Our study demonstrates that siRNA-CD40 ameliorates the renal inflammation and fibrosis induced by UUO renal injury.