Exogenous administration of actin prevents tumour growth in mice by specifically antagonizing angiogenin, a potent inducer of neovascularization. To investigate whether the angiogenin/actin system is also of importance in renal disease, we examined the effect of actin during glomerular capillary repair in anti-Thy-1.1 mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis. Male Wistar rats were injected intravenously with actin, a control protein, i.e. albumin, or vehicle alone at 8, 16, 24, 32, 40 and 48 h after disease induction. On day 8, actin-treated rats showed significantly more microaneurysms and persistent mesangiolysis as compared to both control groups. This was associated with increased proteinuria in actin-treated rats. Moreover, actin-treated rats showed increased counts of glomerular macrophages (+40%) and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (+100%) on day 3 as well as a decrease in glomerular endothelial area on days 3 and 8. However, no difference in early glomerular endothelial as well as non-endothelial cell proliferation was noted in actin-treated rats as compared to controls. Actin treatment had no apparent influence on mesangial cell activation (i.e. de novo expression of α-smooth muscle actin) or glomerular accumulation of fibronectin or type IV collagen. Additional in vitro studies demonstrated that extracellular actin inhibits the angiogenin but not VEGF165-induced proliferation of (glomerular) endothelial cells. Moreover, actin inhibited other, yet unidentified, serum-derived angiogenic factors. In conclusion, exogenous actin impairs glomerular capillary repair in experimental mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis possibly due to interference with angiogenic factors such as angiogenin. Our combined in vivo and in vitro observations suggest that the release of intracellular actin during mesangiolysis is an endogenous pathway by which glomerular capillary damage is augmented.

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