Zhang H, Schin M, Saha J, et al. Podocyte-specific overexpression of GLUT1 surprisingly reduces mesangial matrix expansion in diabetic nephropathy in mice

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0680, USA.
AJP Renal Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.25). 04/2010; 299(1):F91-8. DOI: 10.1152/ajprenal.00021.2010
Source: PubMed


Increased expression of the facilitative glucose transporter, GLUT1, leads to glomerulopathy that resembles diabetic nephropathy, whereas prevention of enhanced GLUT1 expression retards nephropathy. While many of the GLUT1-mediated effects are likely due to mesangial cell effects, we hypothesized that increased GLUT1 expression in podocytes also contributes to the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Therefore, we generated two podocyte-specific GLUT1 transgenic mouse lines (driven by a podocin promoter) on a db/m C57BLKS background. Progeny of the two founders were used to generate diabetic db/db and control db/m littermate mice. Immunoblots of glomerular lysates showed that transgenic mice had a 3.5-fold (line 1) and 2.1-fold (line 2) increase in GLUT1 content compared with wild-type mice. Both lines showed similar increases in fasting blood glucose and body weights at 24 wk of age compared with wild-type mice. Mesangial index (percent PAS-positive material in the mesangial tuft) increased 88% (line 1) and 75% (line 2) in the wild-type diabetic mice but only 48% (line 1) and 39% (line 2) in the diabetic transgenic mice (P < 0.05, transgenic vs. wild-type mice). This reduction in mesangial expansion was accompanied by a reduction in fibronectin accumulation, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels increased only half as much in the transgenic diabetic mice as in wild-type diabetic mice. Levels of nephrin, neph1, CD2AP, podocin, and GLUT4 were not significantly different in transgenic compared with wild-type mice. Taken together, increased podocyte GLUT1 expression in diabetic mice does not contribute to early diabetic nephropathy; surprisingly, it protects against mesangial expansion and fibronectin accumulation possibly by blunting podocyte VEGF increases.

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