A novel renal perivascular mesenchymal cell subset gives rise to fibroblasts distinct from classic myofibroblasts

Shun Minatoguchi, Shoji Saito, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Yuriko Sawa, Masaki Okazaki, Yuko Shimamura, Ahmad Baseer Kaihan, Yusaku Hashimoto, Yoshinari Yasuda, Akitoshi Hara, Yasuyuki Mizutani, Ryota Ando, Noritoshi Kato, Takuji Ishimoto, Naotake Tsuboi, Nobutoshi Esaki, Makoto Matsuyama, Yukihiro Shiraki, Hiroki Kobayashi, Naoya AsaiAtsushi Enomoto, Shoichi Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Perivascular mesenchymal cells (PMCs), which include pericytes, give rise to myofibroblasts that contribute to chronic kidney disease progression. Several PMC markers have been identified; however, PMC heterogeneity and functions are not fully understood. Here, we describe a novel subset of renal PMCs that express Meflin, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein that was recently identified as a marker of fibroblasts essential for cardiac tissue repair. Tracing the lineage of Meflin+ PMCs, which are found in perivascular and periglomerular areas and exhibit renin-producing potential, showed that they detach from the vasculature and proliferate under disease conditions. Although the contribution of Meflin+ PMCs to conventional α-SMA+ myofibroblasts is low, they give rise to fibroblasts with heterogeneous α-SMA expression patterns. Genetic ablation of Meflin+ PMCs in a renal fibrosis mouse model revealed their essential role in collagen production. Consistent with this, human biopsy samples showed that progressive renal diseases exhibit high Meflin expression. Furthermore, Meflin overexpression in kidney fibroblasts promoted bone morphogenetic protein 7 signals and suppressed myofibroblastic differentiation, implicating the roles of Meflin in suppressing tissue fibrosis. These findings demonstrate that Meflin marks a PMC subset that is functionally distinct from classic pericytes and myofibroblasts, highlighting the importance of elucidating PMC heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5389
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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