Neuronal ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) is a deubiquitinating enzyme that maintains intracellular ubiquitin pools and promotes axonal transport. Uchl1 deletion in mice leads to progressive axonal degeneration, affecting the dorsal root ganglion that harbors axons emanating to the kidney. Innervation is a crucial regulator of renal hemodynamics, though the contribution of neuronal UCHL1 to this is unclear. Immunofluorescence revealed significant neuronal UCHL1 expression in mouse kidney, including periglomerular axons. Glomerular filtration rate trended higher in 6-week-old Uchl1-/- mice, and by 12 weeks of age, these displayed significant glomerular hyperfiltration, coincident with the onset of neurodegeneration. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition had no effect on glomerular filtration rate of Uchl1-/- mice indicating that the renin–angiotensin system does not contribute to the observed hyperfiltration. DCE-MRI revealed increased cortical renal blood flow in Uchl1-/- mice, suggesting that hyperfiltration results from afferent arteriole dilation. Nonetheless, hyperglycemia, cyclooxygenase-2, and nitric oxide synthases were ruled out as sources of hyperfiltration in Uchl1-/- mice as glomerular filtration rate remained unchanged following insulin treatment, and cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide synthase inhibition. Finally, renal nerve dysfunction in Uchl1-/- mice is suggested given increased renal nerve arborization, decreased urinary norepinephrine, and impaired vascular reactivity. Uchl1-deleted mice demonstrate glomerular hyperfiltration associated with renal neuronal dysfunction, suggesting that neuronal UCHL1 plays a crucial role in regulating renal hemodynamics.

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