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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Jun;16(6):1654-60. Epub 2005 Apr 20.

Protein kinase Cbeta inhibition attenuates osteopontin expression, macrophage recruitment, and tubulointerstitial injury in advanced experimental diabetic nephropathy.

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Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, 3065.


Tubulointerstitial macrophage accumulation is an important marker of prognosis that correlates closely with declining renal function in a range of human and experimental diseases, including diabetic nephropathy. These inflammatory cells are rich in the profibrotic growth factor TGF-beta such that their presence in areas of injury is frequently associated with tissue fibrosis. The migration of macrophages occurs in response to the site-specific production of chemokines, with osteopontin closely associated with their trafficking into the tubulointerstitium of the kidney. Although cell culture studies indicate that protein kinase C (PKC) mediates the expression of osteopontin, its role in the in vivo setting is unknown. Accordingly, Ren-2 control and diabetic rats that were treated with or without the specific PKC-beta isoform inhibitor ruboxistaurin (10 mg/kg per d) were examined. After 12 wk, diabetic rats showed increases in osteopontin expression in tubular epithelial cells of the cortex in association with macrophage infiltration, interstitial fibrosis, and activity of TGF-beta as indicated by the expression of its receptor activated protein phospho-Smad2 (P < 0.05 for all parameters). Ruboxistaurin treatment significantly attenuated these parameters (P < 0.05) in diabetic rats without affecting either BP or glycemic control. These findings suggest that osteopontin and macrophage accumulation may play a role in the tubulointerstitial injury in diabetic nephropathy and that inhibition of osteopontin expression may be one of the mechanisms by which inhibition of the beta-isoform of PKC confers a renoprotective effect.

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