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Ribeiro, Andrea; Merkle, Monika; Motamedi, Nasim; Nitschko, Hans; Köppel, Simone and Wörnle, Markus (2016): BK virus infection activates the TNFα/TNF receptor system in Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy. In: Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Vol. 411, No. 1-2: pp. 191-199

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Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy due to BK virus infection (BKVAN) is recognized as an important cause of significant kidney transplant dysfunction often leading to renal graft loss. The activation of innate immune defense mechanisms during BKVAN is still poorly understood and an altered regulation of inflammatory mediators by resident kidney cells upon viral infection can be expected to contribute to the onset and progression of disease. TNF alpha interacting with its receptors, TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) and TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2), is largely accepted to be involved in viral responses, exhibiting both proinflammatory and immunosuppressive effects. Our aim was to examine the expressions of TNF alpha and TNFR1 and 2 in human collecting duct epithelial cells (HCDC) after infection with BKV as well as to study the effect of TNF alpha and poly(I:C), a synthetic analog of viral RNA, on the expressions of TNF receptors and proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in HCDC. Quantitative RT-PCR analyses showed a downregulation of TNF alpha and an upregulation of both TNFR1 and 2 upon exposure of HCDC to the BK virus. TNF alpha stimulation induced the expressions of IL-6, IL-8, RANTES, and TNFR2. Poly(I:C) upregulated the expressions of both TNFR1 and TNFR2, a response that could be effectively blocked by siRNA to TLR3 and RIG-I, two double-stranded (ds) RNA receptors of the innate immune system. Poly(I:C)-dependent expression of TNFR2 but not TNFR1 was enhanced by TNF alpha. Taken together, our results suggest an involvement of TNF/TNFR system in virus-associated nephropathy.

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