Chronic inflammation, which is often associated with high all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, is prevalent in patients with renal failure; however, the precise mechanisms remain unclear. High-salt intake was reported to induce lymphangiogenesis and autoimmune diseases via osmotic stimuli with accumulation of sodium or chloride. In addition, sodium was recently reported to be stored in the extremities of dialysis patients. We studied the effects and mechanisms of high salt loading on tissue and systemic inflammation in subtotal-nephrectomized mice (5/6Nx) and in cultured cells. Macrophage infiltration in the peritoneal wall (P<0.001), heart (P<0.05) and para-aortic tissues (P<0.001) was significantly higher in 5/6Nx with salt loading (5/6Nx/NaCl) than in 5/6Nx without salt loading (5/6Nx/Water); however, there were no significant differences in blood pressure and renal function between the groups. Tissue interleukin-6, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), serum-A nd glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (Sgk1) and tonicity-responsive enhancer binding protein (TonEBP) mRNA were significantly elevated in the peritoneal wall and heart with 5/6Nx/NaCl when compared with 5/6Nx/Water. Sodium was stored in the abdominal wall, exerting high-osmotic conditions. Reversal of salt loading reduced macrophage infiltration associated with decreased TonEBP in 5/6Nx/NaCl. Macrophage infiltration associated with fibrosis induced by salt loading was decreased in the 5/6Nx/NaCl/CC chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2, receptor of MCP-1)-deficient mice when compared with 5/6Nx/NaCl/Wild mice, suggesting that CCR2 is required for macrophage infiltration in 5/6Nx with NaCl loading. In cultured mesothelial cells and cardiomyocytes, culture media with high NaCl concentration induced MCP-1, Sgk1 and TonEBP mRNA, all of which were suppressed by TonEBP siRNA, indicating that both MCP-1 and Sgk1 are downstream of TonEBP. Our study indicates that high NaCl intake induces MCP-1 expression leading to macrophage infiltration via the TonEBP-MCP-1 pathway in 5/6Nx/NaCl mice, and that TonEBP has a central role in inflammation in patients with renal failure taking high salt.
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