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J Am Soc Nephrol. 1999 Apr;10(4):738-45.

Mechanisms of mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in experimental diabetes.

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Department of Pediatrics, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Various growth factors and vasoactive substances are implicated in the pathogenesis of renal growth seen in early diabetes mellitus (DM). Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is an important mediator of these extracellular stimuli. Protein kinase C (PKC), an enzyme known to be stimulated in DM, also activates MAPK. Thus, MAPK activity was examined in glomeruli from streptozotocin-induced DM rats. MAPK activity, measured as myelin basic protein kinase, was elevated by approximately 50% in DM versus controls (CON). Increased protein contents of p42mapk and p44mapk, as well as increased tyrosine phosphorylation and mobility shift of p42mapk, were also observed in DM. Tyrosine dephosphorylation of pp42mapk, on the other hand, assessed by incubating glomerular membrane with or without sodium orthovanadate (vanadate), was significantly diminished in DM. Protein expression of MAPK phosphatase-1 (MKP-1), a dual specificity phosphatase that inactivates MAPK, was approximately 60% of CON. Reduction in MKP-1 was reproduced in cultured mesangial cells grown under high glucose (30 mM; HG). The suppression of MKP-1 was PKC-dependent since incubation of HG cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate for 24 h abolished it. Furthermore, calcium ionophore A23187 reversed the suppression, suggesting that blunted Ca2+ signalling, characteristic of HG cells secondary to PKC stimulation, may be the cause. These results demonstrate that glomerular MAPK is activated in DM by multiple mechanisms i.e., increases in protein contents, increased phosphorylation, and decreased dephosphorylation of the enzyme due to suppression of MKP-1. These alterations may have an implication in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

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