Klotho suppresses renal tubulo-interstitial fibrosis by controlling basic fibroblast growth factor-2 signalling

Xu Guan, Ling Nie, Ting He, Ke Yang, Tangli Xiao, Song Wang, Yunjian Huang, Jingbo Zhang, Junping Wang, Kumar Sharma, Youhua Liu, Jinghong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Increased basic fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) and reduced Klotho have both been reported to be closely associated with renal fibrosis. However, the relationship between Klotho and FGF2 remains unclear. We demonstrate that FGF2 induced tubulo-epithelial plasticity in cultured HK-2 cells, accompanied by a reduction in Klotho expression, whereas recombinant Klotho protein could inhibit the action of FGF2. The FGF2 effects required extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 activation, which was suppressed by Klotho. Moreover, Klotho also restrained FGF2-induced fibroblast proliferation and activation. The inhibitory effect of Klotho on the activity of FGF2 was likely due to its potent ability to compete with FGF2 binding to FGF receptor 1. Unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO)-induced renal fibrosis was associated with an increase in FGF2 and a reduction in Klotho expression in wild-type mice, whereas FGF2-/- mice largely preserved Klotho expression and developed only mild renal fibrosis after obstructive injury. Furthermore, administration of Klotho protein in UUO mice significantly reduced renal fibrosis, concomitant with a marked suppression of FGF2 production and signalling. These studies demonstrate a feedback loop between Klotho depletion and FGF2 activation in renal fibrosis. Our results also suggest that Klotho treatment reduces renal fibrosis, at least in part, by inhibiting FGF2 signalling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-572
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • FGF2
  • Klotho
  • Renal fibrosis
  • Tubulo-epithelial plasticity
  • Unilateral ureteral obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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