Introduction: Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is a devastating complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD). The pathogenesis is not exactly known and no preventive strategy or targeted medical therapy is available. CCN2 has both profibrotic and pro-angiogenic actions and appears an attractive target. Therefore, we studied peritoneal expression of CCN2, as well as TGFb1 and VEGF, in different stages of peritoneal fibrosis.Materials and methods: Sixteen PD patients were investigated and compared to 12 hemodialysis patients and four preemptively transplanted patients. Furthermore, expression was investigated in 12 EPS patients in comparison with 13 PD and 12 non-PD patients without EPS. Peritoneal tissue was taken during kidney transplantation procedure or during EPS surgery. In a subset of patients, CCN2 protein levels in peritoneal effluent and plasma were determined. Samples were examined by qPCR, histology, immunohistochemistry, and ELISA.Results: Peritoneal CCN2 expression was 5-fold higher in PD patients compared to pre-emptively transplanted patients (P< 0.05), but did not differ from hemodialysis patients. Peritoneal expression of TGFβ1 and VEGF were not different between the three groups; neither was peritoneal thickness. Peritoneum of EPS patients exhibited increased expression of CCN2 (35- fold, P<0.001), TGFβ1 (24-fold, P< 0.05), and VEGF (77-fold, P<0.001) compared to PD patients without EPS. In EPS patients, CCN2 protein was mainly localized in peritoneal endothelial cells and fibroblasts. CCN2 protein levels were significantly higher in peritoneal effluent of EPS patients compared to levels in dialysate of PD patients (12.0±4.5 vs. 0.91±0.92 ng/ml, P<0.01), while plasma CCN2 levels were not increased.Conclusions: Peritoneal expression of CCN2, TGFβ1, and VEGF are significantly increased in EPS patients. In early stages of peritoneal fibrosis, only CCN2 expression is slightly increased. Peritoneal CCN2 overexpression in EPS patients is a locally driven response. The potential of CCN2 as biomarker and target for CCN2-inhibiting agents to prevent or treat EPS warrants further study.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Abrahams, A.C, Habib, S.M, Dendooven, A, Riser, B.L, Van Der Veer, J.W, Toorop, R.J, … Boer, W.H. (2014). Patients with encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis have increased peritoneal expression of connective tissue growth factor (CCN2), transforming growth factor- β1, and vascular endothelial growth factor. PLoS ONE, 9(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112050