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Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most severe microangiopathies of diabetes mellitus and is a leading cause of end stage renal disease. Numerous studies suggest that podocyte injury contributes to progressive proteinuria. Podocytes are highly specialized, terminally differentiated cells that are unable to proliferate, autophagy plays a key role in maintaining the structure and function of podocytes. Autophagy impairment is involved in the pathogenesis of podocyte loss, which leads to massive proteinuria in DN. In the present study, we investigated the effects of mangiferin on nephropathy in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats; we focused on pathological factors related to autophagy in podocytes and the AMPK-mTOR-ULK1 pathway. The results showed that chronic treatment with mangiferin significantly decreased albuminuria, inhibited glomerular extracellular matrix expansion and restored the expression of nephrin, a podocyte marker, in diabetic rats; these results suggest that mangiferin delayed the process of DN and protected the podocytes. In addition, mangiferin induced autophagy, as shown by the up-regulation of LC3 II and the down-regulation of p62 in both DN rats and podocytes. Transmission electron microscope analyses showed that mangiferin increased the number of autophagosomes in the podocytes of DN rats. This underlying mechanism was associated with the up-regulation of AMPK phosphorylation, the down-regulation of mTOR phosphorylation and the up-regulation of p-ULK1. Taken together, mangiferin delayed the progression of DN and protected the podocytes by enhancing autophagy under diabetic conditions via the AMPK-mTOR-ULK1 pathway. These findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the renoprotective effects of mangiferin in DN.
PMID: 29444469 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]