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Acta Anat (Basel). 1997;158(3):155-65.

Altered kidney matrix gene expression in early stages of experimental diabetes.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


The expression of mRNA and distribution of alpha 1(IV), alpha 3(IV) chains of type IV collagen, matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2), and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1) were examined in kidneys from streptozotocin-diabetic rats, 2.5 months after administration of the drug, an early time point when specific diabetic glomerular changes were still minimal. Ten age-matched Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to control and diabetic groups. Compared to the controls, the diabetic rats had a significantly lower body weight, higher kidney weight and serum glucose levels, but no significant changes of glomerular surface area and urine albumin were observed. Northern blot analysis, using whole kidney mRNA, revealed that diabetic rat kidneys expressed 113.5% more alpha 1(IV), 46.5% more alpha 3(IV), 54.8% less MMP-2 and 246% more TIMP-1 (in all instances: p < 0.05). These results were corroborated by in situ hybridization for RNA expression. A quantitative analysis of the data indicated the following changes in glomeruli: (1) 74.6% more alpha 1(IV), (2) 103.8% more alpha 3(IV), (3) 40.7% less MMP-2 and (4) 80.9% more TIMP-1. Similar changes were observed in tubular (proximal and distal) cells. We conclude that an increased synthesis and decreased degradation of renal extracellular matrix components occur early after induction of experimental diabetes, before the onset of typical structural changes in the kidneys, and represent changes of specific gene expression at the transcriptional level. All the cell types in the glomerulus as well as the proximal and distal tubules appear to be involved in this alteration of expression, and this is a novel finding.

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