The Effect of Interleukin-4 and Dexamethasone on RNA-Seq-Based Transcriptomic Profiling of Human Podocytes: A Potential Role in Minimal Change Nephrotic Syndrome

Jiwon M Lee, Younhee Ko, Chul Ho Lee, Nara Jeon, Keum Hwa Lee, Jun Oh, Andreas Kronbichler, Moin A Saleem, Beom Jin Lim, Jae Il Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) expression is implicated in the pathogenesis of nephrotic syndrome (NS). This study aimed to investigate the changes in the transcriptomes of human podocytes induced by IL-4 treatment and to analyze whether these changes could be affected by simultaneous steroid treatment. Three groups of human podocytes were treated with control, IL-4, and IL-4 plus dexamethasone (DEX), respectively. We performed whole-transcriptome sequencing to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the groups. We investigated relevant biological pathways using Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analyses. We also attempted to compare and validate the DEGs with the genes listed in PodNet, a literature-based database on mouse podocyte genes. A total of 176 genes were differentially expressed among the three groups. GO analyses showed that pathways related to cytoskeleton organization and cell signaling were significantly enriched. Among them, 24 genes were listed in PodNet, and 12 of them were previously reported to be associated with IL-4-induced changes in human podocytes. Of the 12 genes, the expression levels of BMP4, RARB, and PLCE1 were reversed when podocytes were simultaneously treated with DEX. In conclusion, this study explored changes in the transcriptome profiles of human podocytes treated with IL-4. Few genes were reported in previous studies and were previously validated in experiments with human podocytes. We speculate that IL-4 may exert pathogenic effects on the transcriptome of human podocytes, and a few genes may be involved in the pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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