Background: Uraemia induces endothelial cell (EC) injury and impaired repair capacity, for which the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Active vitamin D (VD) may promote endothelial repair, however, the mechanism that mediates the effects of VD in chronic kidney disease are poorly understood. Thus, we investigated uraemia-induced endothelial damage and the protection against such damage by active VD. Methods: We applied electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) to study real-time responses of human ECs exposed to pooled uraemic and non-uraemic plasma with or without the addition of active VD. The effects of indoxyl sulphate and p-cresol were tested in non-uraemic plasma. Structural changes for vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin and F-actin were assessed by immunostaining and quantified. Results: The exposure of ECs to uraemic media significantly decreased endothelial barrier function after 24 h. Cell migration after electrical wounding and recovery of the barrier after thrombin-induced loss of integrity were significantly impaired in uraemic-medium stimulated cells and cells exposed to indoxyl sulphate and p-cresol. This effect on ECIS was dependent on loss of cell-cell interaction. Mechanistically, we found that EC, exposed to uraemic media, displayed disrupted VE-cadherin interactions and F-actin reorganization. VD supplementation rescued both endothelial barrier function and cell-cell interactions in ECs exposed to uraemic media. These events were associated with an increment of VE-cadherin at intercellular junctions. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate a potentially clinically relevant mechanism for uraemia-induced endothelial damage. Furthermore, active VD rescued the uraemic medium-induced loss of cell-cell adhesion, revealing a novel role of active VD in preservation of endothelial integrity during uraemia.
Cuenca, M. V., van Bezu, J., Beelen, R. H. J., Vervloet, M. G., & Hordijk, P. L. (2019). Stabilization of cell-cell junctions by active Vitamin D ameliorates uraemia-induced loss of human endothelial barrier function. Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation, 34(2), 252-264. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfy111