NYMC Faculty Publications


Renal-Specific Silencing of TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) Unmasks Salt-Dependent Increases in Blood Pressure via an NKCC2A (Na+-K+-2Cl- Cotransporter Isoform A)-Dependent Mechanism

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2018




We tested the hypothesis that TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-alpha produced within the kidney and acting on the renal tubular system is part of a regulatory mechanism that attenuates increases in blood pressure in response to high salt intake. Intrarenal administration of a lentivirus construct, which specifically silenced TNF in the kidney, did not affect baseline blood pressure. However, blood pressure increased significantly 1 day after mice with intrarenal silencing of TNF ingested 1% NaCl in the drinking water. The increase in blood pressure, which was continuously observed for 11 days, promptly returned to baseline levels when mice were switched from 1% NaCl to tap water. Silencing of renal TNF also increased NKCC2 (Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter) phosphorylation and induced a selective increase in NKCC2A (NKCC2 isoform A) mRNA accumulation in both the cortical and medullary thick ascending limb of Henle loop that was neither associated with a compensatory decrease of NKCC2F in the medulla nor NKCC2B in the cortex. The NaCl-mediated increases in blood pressure were completely absent when NKCC2A, using a lentivirus construct that did not alter expression of NKCC2F or NKCC2B, and TNF were concomitantly silenced in the kidney. Moreover, the decrease in urine volume and NaCl excretion induced by renal TNF silencing was abolished when NKCC2A was concurrently silenced, suggesting that this isoform contributes to the transition from a salt-resistant to salt-sensitive phenotype. Collectively, the data are the first to demonstrate a role for TNF produced by the kidney in the modulation of sodium homeostasis and blood pressure regulation.