, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 2514-2524
Date: 18 Aug 2006

Transgenic overexpression of brain natriuretic peptide prevents the progression of diabetic nephropathy in mice

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a potent vasorelaxing and natriuretic peptide that is secreted from the heart and has cardioprotective properties. We have previously generated hypotensive transgenic mice (BNP-Tg mice) that overproduce BNP in the liver, which is released into the circulation. Using this animal model, we successfully demonstrated the amelioration of renal injury after renal ablation and in proliferative glomerulonephritis. Glomerular hyperfiltration is an early haemodynamic derangement, representing one of the key mechanisms of the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. Based on the suggested involvement of increased endogenous natriuretic peptides, the aim of this study was to investigate their role in the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Materials and methods

We evaluated the progression of renal injury and fibrogenesis in BNP-Tg mice with diabetes induced by streptozotocin. We also investigated the effect of BNP on high glucose-induced signalling abnormalities in mesangial cells.

Results

After induction of diabetes, control mice exhibited progressively increased urinary albumin excretion with impaired renal function, whereas these changes were significantly ameliorated in BNP-Tg mice. Notably, diabetic BNP-Tg mice revealed minimal mesangial fibrogenesis with virtually no glomerular hypertrophy. Glomerular upregulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, TGF-β and extracellular matrix proteins was also significantly inhibited in diabetic BNP-Tg mice. In cultured mesangial cells, activation of the above cascade under high glucose was abrogated by the addition of BNP.

Conclusions/interpretation

Chronic excess of BNP prevents glomerular injury in the setting of diabetes, suggesting that renoprotective effects of natriuretic peptides may be therapeutically applicable in preventing the progression of diabetic nephropathy.