Thrombospondin 1 (TSP-1) is a matricellular protein that inhibits angiogenesis and causes apoptosis in vivo and in vitro in several cancerous cells and tissues. Here we identify TSP-1 as the molecule with the highest induction level at 3 hours of IR injury in rat and mouse kidneys subjected to ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury using the DNA microarray approach. Northern hybridizations demonstrated that TSP-1 expression was undetectable at baseline, induced at 3 and 12 hours, and returned to baseline levels at 48 hours of reperfusion. Immunocytochemical staining identified the injured proximal tubules as the predominant sites of expression of TSP-1 in IR injury and showed colocalization of TSP-1 with activated caspase-3. Addition of purified TSP-1 to normal kidney proximal tubule cells or cells subjected to ATP depletion in vitro induced injury as demonstrated by cytochrome c immunocytochemical staining and caspase-3 activity. The deleterious role of TSP-1 in ischemic kidney injury was demonstrated directly in TSP-1 null mice, which showed significant protection against IR injury–induced renal failure and tubular damage. We propose that TSP-1 is a novel regulator of ischemic damage in the kidney and may play an important role in the pathophysiology of ischemic kidney failure.


Charuhas V. Thakar, Kamyar Zahedi, Monica P. Revelo, Zhaohui Wang, Charles E. Burnham, Sharon Barone, Shannon Bevans, Alex B. Lentsch, Hamid Rabb, Manoocher Soleimani


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