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Int J Nanomedicine. 2019 Mar 7;14:1753-1777. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S176013. eCollection 2019.

Amelioration of diabetic nephropathy using pomegranate peel extract-stabilized gold nanoparticles: assessment of NF-κB and Nrf2 signaling system.

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Cancer Biology and Inflammatory Disorder Division, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata 700032, West Bengal, India,
Postharvest Technology Laboratory, Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur 413255, Maharashtra, India.
National Referral Laboratory, Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Research Centre for Grapes, Pune 412307, Maharashtra, India.



Diabetic nephropathy (DN), an end-stage renal disorder, has posed a menace to humankind globally, because of its complex nature and poorly understandable intricate mechanism. In recent times, functional foods as potential health benefits have been gaining attention of consumers and researchers alike. Rich in antioxidants, the peel and seed of pomegranate have previously demonstrated protection against oxidative-stress-related diseases, including cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and cancer.


This study was designed to investigate the ameliorative role of pomegranate peel extract-stabilized gold nanoparticle (PPE-AuNP) on streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DN in an experimental murine model.


Following the reduction methods, AuNP was prepared using the pomegranate peel ellagitannins and characterized by particle size, physical appearance, and morphological architecture. Modulatory potential of PPE-AuNP was examined through the plethora of biochemical and high throughput techniques, flow cytometry, immunoblotting, and immunofluorescence.


The animals treated with PPE-AuNP markedly reduced the fasting blood glucose, renal toxicity indices, and serum TC and TG in a hyperglycemic condition. As evident from an increased level of plasma insulin level, PPE-AuNP normalized the STZ-induced pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. The STZ-mediated suppression of endogenous antioxidant response was restored by the PPE-AuNP treatment, which reduced the generation of LPO as well as iROS. Furthermore, the hyperglycemia-mediated augmentation of protein glycation, followed by the NOX4/p-47phox activation, diminished with the application of PPE-AuNP. The histological and immunohistochemical findings showed the protective efficacy of PPE-AuNP in reducing STZ-induced glomerular sclerosis and renal fibrosis. In addition, it reduced proinflammatory burden through the modulation of the MAPK/NF-κB/STAT3/cytokine axis. Simultaneously, PI3K/AKT-guided Nrf2 activation was evident upon the PPE-AuNP application, which enhanced the antioxidant response and maintained hyperglycemic homeostasis.


The findings indicate that the use of PPE-AuNPs might act as an economic therapeutic remedy for alleviating DN.


NF-κB; Nrf2; STAT3; advanced glycation end-product; diabetic kidney disease; gold nanoparticle; pomegranate polyphenol

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Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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