ABSTRACT: Nephrin, an immunoglobulin-like protein essential for the function of the glomerular podocyte and regulated in diabetic nephropathy, is also expressed in pancreatic beta-cells, where its function remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate whether diabetes modulates nephrin expression in human pancreatic islets and to explore the role of nephrin in beta-cell function.
Nephrin expression in human pancreas and in MIN6 insulinoma cells was studied by Western blot, PCR, confocal microscopy, subcellular fractionation, and immunogold labeling. Islets from diabetic (n = 5) and nondiabetic (n = 7) patients were compared. Stable transfection and siRNA knockdown in MIN-6 cells/human islets were used to study nephrin function in vitro and in vivo after transplantation in diabetic immunodeficient mice. Live imaging of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-nephrin-transfected cells was used to study nephrin endocytosis.
Nephrin was found at the plasma membrane and on insulin vesicles. Nephrin expression was decreased in islets from diabetic patients when compared with nondiabetic control subjects. Nephrin transfection in MIN-6 cells/pseudoislets resulted in higher glucose-stimulated insulin release in vitro and in vivo after transplantation into immunodeficient diabetic mice. Nephrin gene silencing abolished stimulated insulin release. Confocal imaging of GFP-nephrin-transfected cells revealed nephrin endocytosis upon glucose stimulation. Actin stabilization prevented nephrin trafficking as well as nephrin-positive effect on insulin release.
Our data suggest that nephrin is an active component of insulin vesicle machinery that may affect vesicle-actin interaction and mobilization to the plasma membrane. Development of drugs targeting nephrin may represent a novel approach to treat diabetes.
Diabetes 10/2009; 59(1):190-9. · 8.29 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: In diabetic nephropathy, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia correlate with the development of albuminuria. The possibility that altered insulin signaling in glomerular cells and particularly podocytes contributes to the development of diabetic nephropathy will be discussed.
Whereas normal podocytes take up glucose in response to insulin, diabetic podocytes become insulin resistant in experimental diabetic nephropathy prior to the development of significant albuminuria. Both clinical and experimental data suggest that insulin sensitizers may be renoprotective independent of their systemic effects on the metabolic control of diabetes.
We will review the clinical and experimental evidence that altered insulin signaling correlates with the development of diabetic nephropathy in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and that insulin sensitizers may be superior to other hypoglycemic agents in the prevention of diabetic nephropathy. We will then review potential mechanisms by which altered podocyte insulin signaling may contribute to the development of diabetic nephropathy. Understanding the role of podocytes in glucose metabolism is important because it may lead to the discovery of novel pathogenetic mechanisms of diabetic nephropathy, it may affect current strategies for prevention and treatment of diabetic nephropathy, and it may allow the identification of novel therapeutic targets.
Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension 09/2009; 18(6):539-45. · 3.96 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: C-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) regulates both the development of insulin resistance and inflammation. Podocytes of the widely used db/db mouse model of diabetic nephropathy lose their ability to respond to insulin as albuminuria develops, in comparison to control db/+ mice. Here we tested whether JNK inhibition or its gene deletion would prevent albuminuria in experimental diabetes. Phosphorylated/total JNK was significantly increased in vivo in glomeruli of db/db compared to db/+ mice. Treatment of podocytes isolated from these two strains of mice with tumor necrosis factor-alpha caused greater phosphorylation of JNK in those obtained from diabetic animals. When db/db mice were treated with a cell-permeable TAT-JNK inhibitor peptide, their insulin sensitivity and glycemia significantly improved compared to controls. We induced diabetes in JNK1 knockout mice with streptozotocin and found that they had significantly better insulin sensitivity compared to diabetic wild-type or JNK2 knockout mice. Albuminuria was, however, worse in all mice treated with the JNK inhibitor and in diabetic JNK2 knockout mice compared to controls. Nephrin expression was also reduced in JNK inhibitor-treated mice compared to controls. A similar degree of mesangial expansion was found in all diabetic mice. Our study shows that targeting JNK to improve systemic insulin sensitivity does not necessarily prevent diabetic nephropathy.
Kidney International 11/2008; 75(4):381-8. · 6.61 Impact Factor