Defects in the glomerular filtration barrier (GFB) play a major role in the onset of human renal diseases. Highly ramified glomerular cells named podocytes are a critical component of the GFB. Injury to podocytes results in abnormal excretion of plasma proteins, which can lead to chronic kidney disease. The conserved paired nephron of larval zebrafish is an excellent model for assessing glomerular function and injury. The efficacy of two known podocyte toxins was tested to refine models of acute podocyte injury in larval zebrafish. The validated compound was then used to test a novel assay of the dynamics of abnormal protein excretion. Injected adriamycin was found to be unsuitable for induction of glomerular injury due to off-target cardiovascular toxicity. In contrast, puromycin treatment resulted in a loss of discriminative filtration, measured by excretion of 70 kDa dextran, and podocyte effacement confirmed by electron microscopy. The dynamics of dextran excretion during puromycin injury modeled the onset of glomerular damage within 24 hours postinjection. These data validate puromycin for induction of acute podocyte injury in zebrafish larvae and describe a semihigh-throughput assay for quantifying the dynamics of abnormal protein excretion.
- Journal Article