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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2007 Nov;293(5):F1727-35. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Overexpression of upstream stimulatory factor 2 accelerates diabetic kidney injury.

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  • 1Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, Wethington Bldg. Rm 517, 900 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40536, USA.


Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of end-stage renal failure in the United States. Hyperglycemia is an important factor in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. Hyperglycemia upregulates the expression of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), which stimulates extracellular matrix deposition in the kidney, contributing to the development of diabetic nephropathy. Our previous studies demonstrated that the transcription factor, upstream stimulatory factor 2 (USF2), was upregulated by high glucose, which bound to an 18-bp sequence in the thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) gene promoter and regulated high glucose-induced TSP1 expression and TGF-beta activity in mesangial cells, suggesting that USF2 might play a role in the development of diabetic nephropathy. In the present studies, we examined the effect of overexpression of USF2 on the development of diabetic nephropathy. Type 1 diabetes was induced in USF2 transgenic mice [USF2 (Tg)] and their wild-type littermates (WT) by injection of streptozotocin. Four groups of mice were studied: control WT, control USF2 (Tg), diabetic WT, and diabetic USF2 (Tg). Mice were killed after 15 wk of diabetes onset. At the end of studies, control USF2 (Tg) mice ( approximately 6 mo old) exhibited increased urinary albumin excretion. These mice also exhibited glomerular hypertrophy, accompanied by increased TSP1, active TGF-beta, fibronectin accumulation in the glomeruli compared with control WT littermates. Type 1 diabetes onset further augmented the urinary albumin excretion and glomerular hypertrophy in the USF2 (Tg) mice. These findings suggest that overexpression of USF2 accelerates the development of diabetic nephropathy.

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