Pathways of apoptosis in human autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney diseases

Beatrice Goilav, Lisa M. Satlin, Patricia D. Wilson

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22 Scopus citations


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a major cause of end-stage renal disease in adults. Autosomal recessive (AR) PKD affects ∼1:20,000 live-born children with high perinatal mortality. Both diseases have abnormalities in epithelial proliferation, secretion, and cell-matrix interactions, leading to progressive cystic expansion and associated interstitial fibrosis. Cell number in a kidney reflects the balance between proliferation and apoptosis. Apoptosis results from extrinsic (ligand-induced, expression of caspase-8) and intrinsic (mitochondrial damage, expression of caspase-9) triggers. Previous studies have suggested a role for apoptosis in PKD cyst formation and parenchymal destruction. Mechanisms underlying apoptosis in human ADPKD and ARPKD were examined by quantitative immunohistochemistry and Western immunoblot analyses of age-matched normal and PKD tissues. Caspase-8 expression was significantly greater in small cysts and normal-appearing tubules than in larger cysts in ADPKD kidneys. Caspase-8 also appeared early in the disease process of ADPKD. In ARPKD, expression of caspase-8 was most pronounced in later stages of the disease and was not confined to a specific cyst size. In conclusion, apoptosis in human ADPKD is an early event, occurring predominantly in normal-appearing tubules and small cysts, and is triggered by an extrinsic factor, but it occurs later in ARPKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1482
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease
  • Caspase
  • Extrinsic pathway


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