NYMC Faculty Publications


Endothelial Dysfunction is a Superinducer of Syndecan-4: Fibrogenic Role of its Ectodomain

Document Type


Publication Date

March 2018




Syndecan-4 (Synd4) is a member of the membrane-spanning, glycocalyx-forming proteoglycan family. It has been suggested that Synd4 participates in renal fibrosis. We compared wild-type and fibrosis-prone endothelial sirtuin 1-deficient (Sirt1(endo-/-)) mice, the latter being a model of global endothelial dysfunction. We performed mass spectrometry analysis, which revealed that Synd4 was highly enriched in the secretome of renal microvascular endothelial cells obtained from Sirt1(endo-/-) mice upon stimulation with transforming growth factor-beta1; notably, all detectable peptides were confined to the ectodomain of Synd4. Elevated Synd4 was due to enhanced NF-kappaB signaling in Sirt1(endo-/-) mice, while its shedding occurred as a result of oxidative stress in Sirt1 deficiency. Synd4 expression was significantly enhanced after unilateral ureteral obstruction compared with contralateral kidneys. Furthermore, hyperplasia of renal myofibroblasts accompanied by microvascular rarefaction and overexpression of Synd4 were detected in Sirt1(endo-/-) mice. The ectodomain of Synd4 acted as a chemoattractant for monocytes with higher levels of macrophages and higher expression levels of Synd4 in the extracellular matrix of Sirt1(endo-/-) mice. In vitro, ectodomain application resulted in generation of myofibroblasts from cultured renal fibroblasts, while in vivo, subcapsular injection of ectodomain increased interstitial fibrosis. Moreover, the endothelial glycocalyx was reduced in Sirt1(endo-/-) mice, highlighting the induction of Synd4 occurring in parallel with the depletion of its intact form and accumulation of its ectodomain in Sirt1(endo-/-) mice. On the basis of our experimental results, we propose that it is the Synd4 ectodomain per se that is partially responsible for fibrosis in unilateral ureteral obstruction, especially when it is combined with endothelial dysfunction. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Our findings suggest that endothelial dysfunction induces the expression of syndecan-4 via activation of the NF-kappaB pathway. Furthermore, we show that syndecan-4 is shed to a greater amount because of increased oxidative stress in dysfunctional endothelial cells and that the release of the syndecan-4 ectodomain leads to tubulointerstitial fibrosis.