Coptisine ameliorates renal injury in diabetic rats through the activation of Nrf2 signaling pathway


The present study has been designed and carried out to evaluate the potential of coptisine on diabetic nephropathy. Diabetes was induced in SD rats through one single intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (65 mg/kg) method, and then diabetic rats were orally administered with 25 mg/kg/day coptisine or 50 mg/kg/day coptisine for 8 weeks. Severe impairment of renal function in rats with diabetes was observed as indicated by increased urine protein excretion, kidney hypertrophy index, serum creatinine level, and blood urea nitrogen level. Oxidative stress damage was observed as indicated by increased levels of reactive oxygen species, malondialdehyde, and decreased levels of glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. However, these alterations in kidneys of rats with diabetes were alleviated by administration of coptisine. Furthermore, the expression levels of nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and its targeted antioxidative genes heme oxygenase 1 and NADPH quinone oxidoreductase 1 in the diabetic kidneys were significantly increased after coptisine treatment. These results suggested that coptisine ameliorated oxidative renal injury in diabetic rats, and the possible mechanisms for the renoprotective effects of coptisine may be related to activation of the Nrf2 signaling pathway.

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This study was supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81573746).

Author information




J.J.Z., Z.P.L., and X.M.L. conceived and designed the research.

H.F.Z., L.Y.M., Z.Q.M., and Y.Z. conducted experiments.

J.Z., M.L., and L.M. analyzed data.

J.J.Z. and Z.P.L. prepared the manuscript.

H.F.Z. and L.Y.M. administrated the project.

X.M.L. revised the manuscript.

All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaomiao Li.

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All animal procedures in this work were conducted according to the Animal Ethics Committee at the First Affiliated Hospital of Air Force Medical University.

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Zhai, J., Li, Z., Zhang, H. et al. Coptisine ameliorates renal injury in diabetic rats through the activation of Nrf2 signaling pathway. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol 393, 57–65 (2020).

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  • Coptisine
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Rat
  • Nrf2 signaling pathway