The involvement of VEGF-A as well as the therapeutic efficacy of angiogenesis inhibitors in diabetic nephropathy have been reported. We recently reported the therapeutic effects of vasohibin-1 (VASH-1), an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor, in a type 1 diabetic nephropathy model (Nasu T, Maeshima Y, Kinomura M, Hirokoshi-Kawahara K, Tanabe K, Sugiyama H, Sonoda H, Sato Y, Makino H. Diabetes 58: 2365-2375, 2009). In this study, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of VASH-1 on renal alterations in obese mice with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic db/db mice received intravenous injections of adenoviral vectors encoding human VASH-1 (AdhVASH-1) and were euthanized 8 wk later. AdhVASH-1 treatment resulted in significant suppression of glomerular hypertrophy, glomerular hyperfiltration, albuminuria, increase in the CD31+ glomerular endothelial area, F4/80+ monocyte/macrophage infiltration, the accumulation of type IV collagen, and mesangial matrix. An increase in the renal levels of VEGF-A, VEGFR-2, transforming growth factor (TGF)-(31, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in diabetic animals was significantly suppressed by AdhVASH-1 (immunoblotting). AdhVASH-1 treatment significantly recovered the loss and altered the distribution patterns of nephrin and zonula occludens (ZO)-1 and suppressed the increase in the number of fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1+) and desmin+ podocytes in diabetic mice. In vitro, recombinant human VASH-1 (rhVASH-1) dose dependently suppressed the upregulation of VEGF induced by high ambient glucose (25 mM) in cultured mouse podocytes. In addition, rhVASH-1 significantly recovered the mRNA levels of nephrin and the protein levels of ZO-1 and P-cadherin and suppressed the increase in protein levels of desmin, FSP-1, Snail, and Slug in podocytes under high-glucose condition. Taken together, these results suggest the potential use of VASH-1 as a novel therapeutic agent in type 2 diabetic nephropathy mediated via antiangiogenic effects and maintenance of podocyte phenotype in association with antiproteinuric effects.
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