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Kidney Int Suppl. 2000 Sep;77:S93-8.

Role of angiotensin II in diabetic nephropathy.

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Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital, Illinois 60141, USA.


Considerable evidence suggests that the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system plays an important role in diabetic nephropathy. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor blockers (ARBs) can attenuate progressive glomerulosclerosis in disease models and can slow disease progression in humans. Because agents that interfere with Ang II action may decrease glomerular injury without altering glomerular pressures, it has been suggested that Ang II has direct effects on glomerular cells to induce sclerosis independent of its hemodynamic actions. To study nonhemodynamic effects of Ang II on matrix metabolism, many investigators have used cell culture systems. Glucose and Ang II have been shown to produce similar effects on renal cells in culture. For instance, incubation of mesangial cells in high-glucose media or in the presence of Ang II stimulates matrix protein synthesis and inhibits degradative enzyme (e.g., collagenase, plasmin) activity. Glucose and Ang II also can inhibit proximal tubule proteinases. Glucose increases expression of the angiotensinogen gene in proximal tubule cells and Ang II production in primary mesangial cell culture, which indicates that high glucose itself can activate the renin-angiotensin system. The effects of glucose and Ang II on mesangial matrix metabolism may be mediated by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). Exposure of mesangial cells to glucose or Ang II increases TGF-beta expression and secretion. Their effects on matrix metabolism can be blocked by anti-TGF-beta antibody or ARBs such as losartan, which also prevents the glucose-induced increment in TGF-beta secretion. Taken together, these findings support the hypothesis that the high-glucose milieu of diabetes increases Ang II production by renal, and especially, mesangial cells, which results in stimulation of TGF-beta secretion, leading to increased synthesis and decreased degradation of matrix proteins, thus producing matrix accumulation. This may be an important mechanism linking hyperglycemia and Ang II in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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