Urokinase-plasminogen activator is synthesized in vitro by human glomerular epithelial cells but not by mesangial cells

Paul A.J. Brown*, Heather M. Wilson, Fiona J. Reid, Nuala A. Booth, John G. Simpson, Lynne Morrison, David A. Power, Neva E. Haites

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The plasmin protease system may have a role in maintaining the patency of renal tubules and in regulating matrix degradation within the glomerulus. Urokinase-plasminogen activator (u-PA) is a serine protease which plays an important part in the regulation of plasmin production from plasminogen. The synthesis of u-PA by cultured human glomerular cells, in particular mesangial cells, is controversial. The present study describes the presence of u-PA in supernatants of pure cultures of human glomerular epithelial cells (EC), cocultures of EC and human mesangial cells (MC) and whole glomeruli, but not within pure cultures of MC. To confirm the synthesis of u-PA mRNA in glomerular EC, cocultures of EC and MC were tested by in situ hybridization with u-PA antisense and sense digoxigenin-labeled RNA probes. Cytoplasmic localization of u-PA mRNA was demonstrated only in the EC, thus confirming the absence of synthesis of u-PA by human mesangial cells in culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments This study was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council and Grampian Health Board. The authors are grateful to the Wellcome Trust, UK, for providing a grant for color publication of Figure 2. The technical advice of Dr. S. Wedden, Department of Anatomy, University of Edinburgh, is acknowledged


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