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Deficiency of peroxisomal L-bifunctional protein (EHHADH) causes male-specific kidney hypertrophy and proximal tubular injury in mice

By Pablo Ranea-Robles, Kensey Portman, Aaron Bender, Kyung Lee, John Cijiang He, David J. Mulholland, Carmen Argmann, Sander Houten

Posted 16 Mar 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.14.435187

Background: Proximal tubular (PT) cells are enriched in mitochondria and peroxisomes. Whereas mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) plays an important role in kidney function by supporting the high-energy requirements of PT cells, the role of peroxisomal metabolism remains largely unknown. EHHADH, also known as L-bifunctional protein, catalyzes the second and third step of peroxisomal FAO. Methods: We studied kidneys of WT and Ehhadh KO mice using histology, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, immunoblot, RNA-sequencing, metabolomics and orchiectomy. Results: We observed male-specific kidney hypertrophy and glomerular filtration rate reduction in adult Ehhadh KO mice. Transcriptome analysis unveiled a gene expression signature similar to PT injury in acute kidney injury mouse models. This was further illustrated by the presence of KIM-1 (kidney injury molecule-1), SOX-9, and Ki67-positive cells in the PT of male Ehhadh KO kidneys. Male Ehhadh KO kidneys had metabolite changes consistent with peroxisomal dysfunction as well as an elevation in glycosphingolipids levels. Orchiectomy of Ehhadh KO mice reversed kidney enlargement and decreased the number of KIM-1 positive cells. We reveal a pronounced sexual dimorphism in the expression peroxisomal FAO proteins in mouse kidney, underlining a role of androgens in the kidney phenotype of Ehhadh KO mice. Conclusions: Our data highlight the importance of EHHADH and peroxisomal metabolism in male kidney physiology and reveal peroxisomal FAO as a sexual dimorphic metabolic pathway in mouse kidneys.

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