ShenKang Injection Attenuates Renal Fibrosis by Inhibiting EMT and Regulating the Wnt/<em>β</em>-Catenin Pathway
pubmed: wnt1 2022-11-24
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 Jun 28;2022:9705948. doi: 10.1155/2022/9705948. eCollection 2022.
Shenkang Injection (SKI) is a traditional Chinese medicine injection commonly used in the clinical treatment of chronic kidney disease. Although it has been confirmed that SKI has anti-kidney fibrosis effects, the underlying mechanism remains unclear. To investigate the effects of SKI on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and Wnt/β-catenin pathway and explore its potential anti-fibrosis mechanism. A unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model was induced by ligating the left ureter of male SD rats. A total of 24 rats were randomly divided into the following four groups: sham group, model group, SKI group, and benazepril group. The rats in each group were treated for 28 days, and renal function was evaluated by blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine (Scr). The degree of renal fibrosis was assessed by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and Masson staining. Extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and western blotting were used to detect the expression of genes and proteins in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Further studies were performed in vitro using HK-2 cells treated with TGF-β1. At 28 days postoperation, the levels of BUN and Scr expression were significantly increased in the UUO group. SKI and benazepril reduced the levels of BUN and Scr, which displayed protective renal effects. Pathological staining showed that compared with the sham operation group, the renal parenchymal structure was severely damaged, the number of glomeruli was reduced, and a large amount of collagen was deposited in the kidney tissue of the UUO group. SKI treatment reduced morphological changes. Immunohistochemistry showed that compared with the sham operation group, the content of collagen I and FN in the kidney tissue of the UUO group were significantly increased, whereas the SKI content was decreased. In addition, compared with the UUO group, the levels of Wnt1, active β-catenin, Snail1, and PAI-1 expression were reduced in the SKI group, suggesting that SKI may reduce renal fibrosis by mediating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Further in vitro studies showed that collagen I, FN, and α-SMA levels in HK-2 cells were significantly increased following stimulation with TGF-β1. SKI could significantly reduce the expression of collagen I, FN, and α-SMA. A scratch test showed that SKI could reduce HK-2 migration. In addition, by stimulating TGF-β1, the levels of Wnt1, active β-catenin, snail1, and PAI-1 were significantly upregulated. SKI treatment could inhibit the activity of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in HK-2 cells. SKI improves kidney function by inhibiting renal fibrosis. The anti-fibrotic effects may be mediated by regulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and EMT inhibition.