Transition of kidney tubule cells to a senescent phenotype in early experimental diabetes
R. C Blantz
S. C. Thomson
Diabetic nephropathy is the commonest cause of end-stage renal disease. Inordinate kidney growth and glomerular hyperfiltration at the very early stages of diabetes are putative antecedents to this disease. The kidney is the only organ that grows larger with the onset of diabetes mellitus, yet there remains confusion about the mechanism and significance of this growth. Here we show that kidney proximal tubule cells in culture transition to senescence in response to oxidative stress. We further determine the temporal expression of G1 phase cell cycle components in rat kidney cortex at days 4 and 10 of streptozotocin diabetes to evaluate changes in this growth response. In diabetic rats we observe increases in kidney weight-to-body weight ratios correlating with increases in expression of the growth-related proteins in the kidney at day 4 after induction of diabetes. However, at day 10 we find a decrease in this profile in diabetic animals coincident with increased cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor expressions. We observe no change in caspase-3 expression in the diabetic kidneys at these early time points; however, diabetic animals demonstrate reduced kidney connexin 43 and increased plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expressions and increased senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity in cortical tubules. In summary, diabetic kidneys exhibit an early temporal induction of growth phase components followed by their suppression concurrent with the induction of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors and markers of senescence. These data delineate a phenotypic change in cortical tubules early in the pathogenesis of diabetes that may contribute to further downstream complications of the disease.