Analysis of NO-synthase expression and clinical risk factors in human diabetic nephropathy

Bernd Hohenstein, Christian P M Hugo, Birgit Hausknecht, Kirsten P Boehmer, Regine H Riess, Roland E Schmieder
Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation 2008, 23 (4): 1346-54

BACKGROUND: Changes of renal nitric oxide (NO) production have been associated with glomerular hyperfiltration, vascular permeability, albuminuria, glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Several studies demonstrated an up- as well as downregulated expression of NO-synthases (NOS) in experimental diabetic nephropathy. It is still not yet specified whether the regulation and activity of NOS is changed in human diabetic nephropathy.

METHODS: Renal biopsies and clinical data of 45 patients with diabetic nephropathy and of 10 control subjects were investigated. Glomerular and cortical endothelial NOS (eNOS) and inducible NOS (iNOS) expression were assessed by immunohistochemical staining and related to clinical data such as the duration of diabetes, insulin therapy and arterial hypertension, albuminuria/proteinuria, eGFR according to the formula modification of diet in renal disease (MDRD), presence of vascular complications or diabetic retinopathy.

RESULTS: The mean age of patients at biopsy was 60.3 years and the mean duration of diabetes 12.9 years. Expression of cortical and glomerular eNOS was increased in type 2 diabetes (P < 0.05). Increased expression of glomerular and cortical eNOS correlated with more severe vascular complications (r = 0.44; P < 0.05). Glomerular eNOS was strongly increased among different degrees of proteinuria (P < 0.01). In contrast to expression levels of eNOS, the glomerular expression pattern of iNOS changed from an endothelial pattern in glomeruli with preserved morphology towards expression predominantly by inflammatory cells.

CONCLUSIONS: Thus, increased eNOS expression by the renal endothelium could be demonstrated in type 2 diabetic nephropathy, whereas iNOS was unchanged but spatially differentially expressed. The eNOS expression was related to vascular lesions and the degree of proteinuria.

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