Activation of Angiopoietin-Tie2 Signaling Protects the Kidney from Ischemic Injury by Modulation of Endothelial-Specific Pathways

Yanyang Li, Pan Liu, Yalu Zhou, Hiroshi Maekawa, John B. Silva, Mohammed Javeed Ansari, Khaled Boubes, Yazan Alia, Dilip K. Deb, Benjamin R. Thomson, Jing Jin, Susan E. Quaggin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Significance StatementIschemia-reperfusion AKI (IR-AKI) is common and causes significant morbidity. Effective treatments are lacking. However, preclinical studies suggest that inhibition of angiopoietin-Tie2 vascular signaling promotes injury, whereas activation of Tie2 is protective. We show that kidney ischemia leads to increased levels of the endothelial-specific phosphatase vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP; PTPRB), which inactivates Tie2. Activation of Tie2 through VE-PTP deletion, or delivery of a novel angiopoietin mimetic (Hepta-ANG1), abrogated IR-AKI in mice. Single-cell RNAseq analysis showed Tie2 activation promotes increased Entpd1 expression, downregulation of FOXO1 target genes in the kidney vasculature, and emergence of a new subpopulation of glomerular endothelial cells. Our data provide a molecular basis and identify a candidate therapeutic to improve endothelial integrity and kidney function after IR-AKI.BackgroundIschemia-reperfusion AKI (IR-AKI) is estimated to affect 2%-7% of all hospitalized patients. The significant morbidity and mortality associated with AKI indicates urgent need for effective treatments. Previous studies have shown activation of the vascular angiopoietin-Tie2 tyrosine kinase signaling pathway abrogates ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). We extended previous studies to (1) determine the molecular mechanism(s) underlying kidney injury and protection related to decreased or increased activation of Tie2, respectively, and (2) to test the hypothesis that deletion of the Tie2 inhibitory phosphatase vascular endothelial protein tyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP) or injection of a new angiopoietin mimetic protects the kidney from IRI by common molecular mechanism(s).MethodsBilateral IR-AKI was performed in VE-PTP wild-Type or knockout mice and in C57BL/6J mice treated with Hepta-ANG1 or vehicle. Histologic, immunostaining, and single-cell RNA sequencing analyses were performed.ResultsThe phosphatase VE-PTP, which negatively regulates the angiopoietin-Tie2 pathway, was upregulated in kidney endothelial cells after IRI, and genetic deletion of VE-PTP in mice protected the kidney from IR-AKI. Injection of Hepta-ANG1 potently activated Tie2 and protected the mouse kidney from IRI. Single-cell RNAseq analysis of kidneys from Hepta-ANG1-Treated and vehicle-Treated mice identified endothelial-specific gene signatures and emergence of a new glomerular endothelial subpopulation associated with improved kidney function. Overlap was found between endothelial-specific genes upregulated by Hepta-ANG1 treatment and those downregulated in HUVECs with constitutive FOXO1 activation, including Entpd1/ENTPD1 that modulates purinergic receptor signaling.ConclusionsOur data support a key role of the endothelium in the development of IR-AKI, introduce Hepta-ANG1 as a putative new therapeutic biologic, and report a model to explain how IRI reduces Tie2 signaling and how Tie2 activation protects the kidney.PodcastThis article contains a podcast at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-987
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • angiopoietins
  • endothelial cells
  • endothelium
  • ischemia-reperfusion
  • ischemic renal failure
  • signal transduction
  • transcriptional profiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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