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Obesity-related glomerulopathy (ORG) is morphologically characterized by glomerulomegaly with or without observable focal segmental glomerulosclerosis under light microscope, with decreased podocyte density and number, and with increased foot‑process width observed under electron microscope. The severity of podocyte injury is correlated with the degree of proteinuria and renal dysfunction. However, the pathogenesis of ORG is not well understood. The aim of the present study was to explore the possible pathogenic role of aldosterone (ALDO) in ORG. In the in vivo animal experiments, body weight, Lee's obesity index, abdominal fat index, urinary protein excretion, average glomerular diameter were significantly increased, the mRNA and protein expression of podocyte‑associated molecules including nephrin, podocin, podoplanin and podocalyxin were significantly reduced, and the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway was activated in ORG model mice compared with the Control mice, whereas the administration of spironolactone significantly ameliorated these effects. In the in vitro experiments on cultured podocytes, the mRNA and protein expression levels of the aforementioned podocyte‑associated molecules were significantly downregulated and the Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway was activated following ALDO stimulation, whereas eplerenone significantly attenuated all the above effects. Dickkopf‑related protein 1 (DKK1), an inhibitor of Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway, also reduced the effects of ALDO exposure on the expression of podocyte‑associated molecules. The present study hypothesized that ALDO may be involved in the pathogenesis of ORG through the activation of Wnt/β‑catenin signaling pathway in podocytes.
PMID: 29328453 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]