Podocytes are specialized epithelial cells that play a significant role in maintaining the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier and preventing urinary protein leakage. We investigated the contribution of protein tyrosine phosphatase Shp2 to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced renal injury. We report increased Shp2 expression in murine kidneys and cultured podocytes following an LPS challenge. To determine the role of podocyte Shp2 in vivo, we generated podocyte-specific Shp2 knockout (pod-Shp2 KO) mice. Following administration of LPS, pod-Shp2 KO mice exhibited lower proteinuria and blood urea nitrogen concentrations than controls indicative of preserved filter integrity. In addition, renal mRNA and serum concentrations of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNFα, INFγ and IL-12 p70 were significantly decreased in LPS-treated knockout mice compared with controls. Moreover, the protective effects of podocyte Shp2 deficiency were associated with decreased LPS-induced NF-κB and MAPK activation, nephrin phosphorylation and attenuated endoplasmic reticulum stress. These effects were recapitulated in differentiated E11 murine podocytes with lentiviral-mediated Shp2 knockdown. Furthermore, Shp2 deficient podocytes displayed reduced LPS-induced migration in a wound healing assay. These findings identify Shp2 in podocytes as a significant contributor to the signaling events following LPS challenge and suggest that inhibition of Shp2 in podocytes may present a potential therapeutic target for podocytopathies.
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