Influence of C-peptide on early glomerular changes in diabetic mice

Yoshiro Maezawa, Koutaro Yokote, Kiriko Sonezaki, Masaki Fujimoto, Kazuki Kobayashi, Harukiyo Kawamura, Takahiko Tokuyama, Minoru Takemoto, Shiro Ueda, Tomoyuki Kuwaki, Seijiro Mori, John Wahren, Yasushi Saito
Diabetes/metabolism Research and Reviews 2006, 22 (4): 313-22

BACKGROUND: C-peptide has been shown to ameliorate diabetes-induced functional and structural renal changes in animal models as well as in patients with type 1 diabetes. This study aims to examine the molecular effects of C-peptide on early glomerular changes in a mouse model of type 1 diabetes.

METHODS: Fourteen days after induction of diabetes by streptozotocin (STZ), the animals received rat C-peptide for either 24 h or 7 days. Urinary albumin excretion was measured by ELISA. Glomerular mRNA expression of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta(1) and type IV collagen was quantified by real-time PCR. The effect of C-peptide on type IV collagen gene expression in cultured murine podocytes was also examined.

RESULTS: C-peptide decreased urinary albumin excretion from 0.29 to 0.18 microg/min (-40.7%, P < 0.01). The transcript level of (alpha3)IV collagen in glomeruli was up-regulated 2.2-fold in diabetic mice and was inhibited by 45-70% (P < 0.05) upon C-peptide treatment. C-peptide suppressed glomerular expression of TGF-beta(1) by 36.6% after 7 days (P < 0.05) but not 24 h after injection. In vitro studies using cultured podocytes revealed that C-peptide dose-dependently inhibited TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of type IV collagen. Moreover, both pertussis toxin (PTX) and a specific inhibitor for extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway reversed the inhibitory effect of C-peptide on TGF-beta. Finally, C-peptide was shown to up-regulate the activity of ERK in podocytes.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that C-peptide suppresses specific aspects of early glomerular changes in a mouse model of diabetes and that the effect is at least in part mediated via interaction with the TGF-beta signal in glomerular podocytes.

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