Urine-Derived Epithelial Cells as a New Model to Study Renal Metabolic Phenotypes of Patients with Glycogen Storage Disease 1a


Glycogen storage diseases (GSDs) represent a model of pathological accumulation of glycogen disease in the kidney that, in animal models, results in nephropathy due to abnormal autophagy and mitochondrial function. Patients with Glycogen Storage Disease 1a (GSD1a) accumulate glycogen in the kidneys and suffer a disease resembling diabetic nephropathy that can progress to renal failure. In this study, we addressed whether urine-derived epithelial cells (URECs) from patients with GSD1a maintain their biological features, and whether they can be used as a model to study the renal and metabolic phenotypes of this genetic condition. Studies were performed on cells extracted from urine samples of GSD1a and healthy subjects. URECs were characterized after the fourth passage by transmission electron microscopy and immunofluorescence. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), at different glucose concentrations, were measured by fluorescent staining. We cultured URECs from three patients with GSD1a and three healthy controls. At the fourth passage, URECs from GSD1a patients maintained their massive glycogen content. GSD1a and control cells showed the ciliary structures of renal tubular epithelium and the expression of epithelial (E-cadherin) and renal tubular cells (aquaporin 1 and 2) markers. Moreover, URECs from both groups responded to changes in glucose concentrations by modulating ROS levels. GSD1a cells were featured by a specific response to the low glucose stimulus, which is the condition that more resembles the metabolic derangement of patients with GSD1a. Through this study, we demonstrated that URECs might represent a promising experimental model to study the molecular mechanisms leading to renal damage in GSD1a, due to pathological glycogen storage.

Authors Lenzini L, Iori E, Scannapieco F, Carraro G, Avogaro A, Vitturi N
Journal International journal of molecular sciences
Publication Date 2022 Dec 23;24(1)
PubMed 36613675
PubMed Central PMC9820562
DOI 10.3390/ijms24010232

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