Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide health problem affecting 9.1% of the world’s population. The treatments to prevent the progression of CKD remain limited, however. Resident fibroblasts in the kidneys play crucial roles in the pathological conditions commonly recognized in CKD, such as renal fibrosis, renal anemia, and peritubular capillary loss. Fibroblasts in the kidney provide structural backbone by producing extracellular matrix proteins and produce erythropoietin for normal hematopoiesis under physiological conditions. In the diseased condition, however, fibroblasts differentiate into myofibroblasts that produce excessive extracellular matrix proteins at the cost of the inherent erythropoietin-producing abilities, resulting in renal fibrosis and renal anemia. Pericytes, which are mesenchymal cells that enwrap peritubular capillaries and highly overlap with resident fibroblasts, detach from peritubular capillary walls in response to kidney injury, resulting in peritubular capillary loss and tissue hypoxia. Several reports have demonstrated the beneficial roles of fibroblasts in the regeneration of renal tubules Renal fibroblasts also have the potential to differentiate into a proinflammatory state, producing various cytokines and chemokines and prolonging inflammation by forming tertiary lymphoid tissues, functional lymphoid aggregates, in some pathological conditions. In this article, we describe the heterogenous functions of renal fibroblasts under healthy and diseased conditions.
Part of the book: Fibroblasts