Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate whether pathologic changes in zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) are induced by interleukin-13 (IL-13) in the experimental minimal-change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) model and to determine whether montelukast, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, has an effect on ZO-1 restoration in cultured human podocytes. Materials and Methods: Human podocytes cultured on bovine serum albumin-coated plates were treated with different doses of IL-13 and montelukast and then examined for distribution using confocal microscopy and for ZO-1 protein levels using Western blotting. Results: ZO-1 was internalized and shown to accumulate in the cytoplasm of human podocytes in an IL-13 dose-dependent manner. High doses (50 and 100 ng/mL) of IL-13 decreased the levels of ZO-1 protein at 12 and 24 h (both p<0.01; n=3), which were significantly reversed by a high dose (0.5 μM) montelukast treatment (p<0.01; n=3). Conclusion: Our results suggest that IL-13 alters the expression of ZO-1, and such alterations in the content and distribution of ZO-1 may be relevant in the pathogenesis of proteinuria in the MCNS model.
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