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Diabetes. 2003 Oct;52(10):2570-7.

Reactive oxygen species from mitochondria induce cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression in human mesangial cells: potential role in diabetic nephropathy.

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  • 1Department of Metabolic Medicine, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Honjo, Kumamoto, Japan.


Hyperglycemia increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the mitochondrial electron transport chain in bovine endothelial cells. Because several studies have postulated a role for prostaglandins (PGs) in the glomerular hyperfiltration seen in early diabetes, we evaluated the effect of mitochondrial ROS on expression of the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) in cultured human mesangial cells (HMCs). We first confirmed that incubation of HMC with 30 mmol/l glucose significantly increased COX-2 mRNA but not COX-1 mRNA, compared with 5.6 mmol/l glucose. Similarly, incubation of HMCs with 30 mmol/l glucose significantly increased mitochondrial membrane potential, intracellular ROS production, COX-2 protein expression, and PGE2 synthesis, and these events were completely suppressed by thenoyltrifluoroacetone or carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, inhibitors of mitochondrial metabolism, or by overexpression of uncoupling protein-1 or manganese superoxide dismutase. Furthermore, increased expression of COX-2 mRNA and protein was confirmed in glomeruli of streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. In addition, hyperglycemia induced activation of the COX-2 gene promoter, which was completely abrogated by mutation of two nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) binding sites in the promoter region. Our results suggest that hyperglycemia increases mitochondrial ROS production, resulting in NF-kappaB activation, COX-2 mRNA induction, COX-2 protein production, and PGE2 synthesis. This chain of events might contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

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