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Astragaloside IV improves renal function and fibrosis via inhibition of miR-21-induced podocyte dedifferentiation and mesangial cell activation in diabetic mice

Authors Wang X, Gao Y, Tian N, Zou D, Shi Y, Zhang N

Received 11 April 2018

Accepted for publication 28 May 2018

Published 6 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 2431—2442


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anastasios Lymperopoulos

Xiaolei Wang,1,2 Yanbin Gao,1,2 Nianxiu Tian,1 Dawei Zou,2 Yimin Shi,1 Nan Zhang1,2

1Department of Endocrinology, School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China; 2Department of Endocrinology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine Collateral Disease Theory Research, Beijing, China

Background: Podocyte dedifferentiation and mesangial cell (MC) activation play an important role in many glomerular diseases associated with fibrosis. MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is closely linked to renal fibrosis, but it is unknown whether and how miR-21 promotes podocyte dedifferentiation and MC activation and whether astragaloside IV (AS-IV) improves renal function and fibrosis through the regulation of miR-21.
Materials and methods: Cultured MCs, primary mouse podocytes, and diabetic KK-Ay mice were treated with AS-IV. Cell transfection, Western blot, real-time PCR, immunofluorescence assay, immunohistochemical assay, and electronic microscopy were used to detect the markers of podocyte dedifferentiation and MC activation and to observe the renal morphology.
Results: Our data showed that miR-21 expression was increased and that AS-IV decreased miR-21 levels in cells, serum, and kidney. Overexpressed miR-21 promoted podocyte dedifferentiation and MC activation, and treatment with AS-IV reversed this effect. Furthermore, the overexpression of miR-21 activated the β-catenin pathway and the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1/Smads pathway in the process of podocyte dedifferentiation and MC activation, which was abolished by AS-IV treatment. In addition, both the Wnt/β-catenin pathway inhibitor XAV-939 and the TGF-β1/Smads pathway inhibitor SB431542 reversed the effect of AS-IV. Furthermore, AS-IV improved renal function and fibrosis in diabetic KK-Ay mice.
Conclusion: Our results indicated that AS-IV ameliorates renal function and renal fibrosis by inhibiting miR-21 overexpression-induced podocyte dedifferentiation and MC activation in diabetic kidney disease. These findings pave way for future studies investigating AS-IV as a potential therapeutic agent in the management of glomerular diseases.

Keywords: astragaloside IV, podocyte dedifferentiation, mesangial cell activation, miR-21, β-catenin pathway, TGF-β1/Smads pathway, renal fibrosis

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