Canonical BMP signaling in tubular cells mediates recovery after acute kidney injury


  • E. Vigolo
  • L. Markó
  • C. Hinze
  • D.N. Müller
  • R. Schmidt-Ullrich
  • K.M. Schmidt-Ott


  • Kidney International


  • Kidney Int 95 (1): 108-122


  • Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling has been shown to modulate the development of renal fibrosis in animal models of kidney injury, but the downstream mediators are incompletely understood. In wild-type mice, canonical BMP signaling mediated by SMAD1/5/8 transcription factors was constitutively active in healthy renal tubules, transiently down-regulated after ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI), and reactivated during successful tubular regeneration. We then induced IRI in mice with a tubular-specific BMP receptor 1A (BMPR1A) deletion. These mice failed to reactivate SMAD1/5/8 signaling in the post-ischemic phase and developed renal fibrosis after injury. Using unbiased genomic analyses, we identified three genes encoding inhibitor of DNA-binding (ID) proteins (Id1, Id2, and Id4) as key targets of BMPR1A-SMAD1/5/8 signaling. BMPR1A-deficient mice failed to re-induce these targets following IRI. Instead, BMPR1A-deficiency resulted in activation of pro-fibrotic signaling proteins that are normally repressed by ID proteins, namely, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and cell cycle inhibitor p27. These data indicate that the post-ischemic activation of canonical BMP signaling acts endogenously to repress pro-fibrotic signaling in tubular cells and may help to prevent the progression of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease.