Pressure and stretch differentially affect proliferation of renal proximal tubular cells
Oxidative stress resulting from unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) may be aggravated by increased production of ROS. Previous studies have demonstrated increased cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression in renal medullary interstitial cells (RMICs) in response to UUO. We investigated, both in vivo and in vitro, the role of ROS in the induction of COX-2 in rats subjected to UUO and in RMICs exposed to oxidative and mechanical stress. Rats subjected to 3-day UUO were treated with two mechanistically distinct antioxidants, the NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) and the complex I inhibitor rotenone (ROT), to interfere with ROS production. We found that UUO-mediated induction of COX-2 in the inner medulla was attenuated by both antioxidants. In addition, DPI and ROT reduced tubular damage and oxidative stress after UUO. Moreover, mechanical stretch induced COX-2 and oxidative stress in RMICs. Likewise, RMICs exposed to H2O2 as an inducer of oxidative stress showed increased COX-2 expression and activity, both of which were reduced by DPI and ROT. Similarly, ROS production, which was increased after exposure of RMICs to H2O2, was also reduced by DPI and ROT. Furthermore, oxidative stress-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 was blocked by both antioxidants, and inhibition of ERK1/2 and p38 attenuated the induction of COX-2 in RMICs. Notably, COX-2 inhibitors further exacerbated the oxidative stress level in H2O2-exposed RMICs. We conclude that oxidative stress as a consequence of UUO stimulates COX-2 expression through the activation of multiple MAPKs and that the induction of COX-2 may exert a cytoprotective function in RMICs.