Research Papers: Pathology:

Eucalyptol ameliorates Snail1/β-catenin-dependent diabetic disjunction of renal tubular epithelial cells and tubulointerstitial fibrosis

Dong Yeon Kim, Min-Kyung Kang, Sin-Hye Park, Eun-Jung Lee, Yun-Ho Kim, Hyeongjoo Oh, Yean-Jung Choi and Young-Hee Kang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:106190-106205. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22311

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Dong Yeon Kim1,*, Min-Kyung Kang1,*, Sin-Hye Park1, Eun-Jung Lee1, Yun-Ho Kim1, Hyeongjoo Oh1, Yean-Jung Choi1 and Young-Hee Kang1

1 Department of Food and Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea

* These authors have contributed equally to this study

Correspondence to:

Young-Hee Kang, email:

Keywords: β-Catenin; cell-cell disjunction; eucalyptol; Snail; tubulointerstitial fibrosis; Pathology Section

Received: June 16, 2017 Accepted: October 05, 2017 Published: October 16, 2017


Renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis is an important event in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. Under pathologic conditions, renal tubular epithelial cells undergo transition characterized by loss of cell-cell adhesion and increased cell migration. This study investigated that eucalyptol inhibited tubular epithelial cell disjunction and tubulointerstitial fibrosis stimulated by glucose. Human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells were incubated for up to 72 h in media containing 27.5 mM mannitol as osmotic controls or 33 mM glucose in the presence of 1-20 μM eucalyptol. Nontoxic eucalyptol inhibited glucose-induced expression of the mesenchymal markers of N-cadherin and α-smooth muscle actin, whereas the induction of E-cadherin was enhanced. Eucalyptol attenuated the induction of connective tissue growth factor and collagen IV by glucose, whereas the membrane type 1-matrix metalloproteinase expression was enhanced with reducing tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 expression. Oral administration of 10 mg/kg eucalyptol to db/db mice for 8 weeks blunted hyperglycemia and proteinuria. Eucalyptol reversed tissue levels of E-cadherin, N-cadherin and P-cadherin and the collagen fiber deposition in diabetic kidneys. Eucalyptol attenuated the induction of Snail1, β-catenin and integrin-linked kinase 1 (ILK1) in glucose-exposed tubular cells and diabetic kidneys, and the glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β expression was reversely enhanced. Glucose prompted TGF-β1 production in tubular cells, leading to induction of Snail1, β-catenin and ILK1, which was dampened by eucalyptol. Furthermore, the Snail1 gene deletion encumbered the β-catenin induction in glucose/eucalyptol-treated tubular cells accompanying enhanced GSK-3β expression. Therefore, eucalyptol may antagonize hyperglycemia-induced tubular epithelial derangement and tubulointerstitial fibrosis through blocking ILK1-dependent transcriptional interaction of Snail1/β-catenin.

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