There is a critical need for efficient treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Renal fibrosis is a final common pathway to end-stage renal disease independent of the underlying etiology, and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a well-recognized profibrotic factor in fibrosis of various organ systems. Here, we developed a novel peptide vaccine against CTGF to attenuate the development of renal fibrosis. Three inoculations with this CTGF vaccine at 2-week intervals elicited antibodies specifically binding to human full-length CTGF, and the antigen-specific serum IgG antibody titers were maintained for > 30 weeks. The efficacy of the CTGF vaccine on renal fibrosis was evaluated in adenine-induced CKD and unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) murine models. In adenine-induced CKD model, immunization with the CTGF vaccine attenuated renal interstitial fibrosis. Vaccinated mice showed low levels of serum creatinine and urea nitrogen and low urine albumin–creatinine ratio compared with vehicle-treated mice. In UUO model, the CTGF vaccination also suppressed the onset of renal fibrosis. In an in vitro study, CTGF vaccine-elicited IgG antibodies efficiently suppressed CTGF-induced- and transforming growth factor-β-induced α-smooth muscle actin expression in kidney fibroblasts. These results demonstrate that the CTGF vaccine is a promising strategy to attenuate the development of renal fibrosis.
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