Research Papers:

CAPE-pNO2 ameliorated diabetic nephropathy through regulating the Akt/NF-κB/ iNOS pathway in STZ-induced diabetic mice

Xiaoling Wang, Dejuan Li, Lu Fan, Qianhan Xiao, Hua Zuo and Zhubo Li _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:114506-114525. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23016

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Xiaoling Wang1,*, Dejuan Li1,*, Lu Fan1, Qianhan Xiao1, Hua Zuo1 and Zhubo Li1

1College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China

*Co-first authors

Correspondence to:

Zhubo Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: caffeic acid p-nitro phenethyl ester (CAPE-pNO2); diabetic nephropathy (DN); glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs); Akt/NF-κB/ iNOS pathway

Received: August 18, 2017     Accepted: November 14, 2017     Published: December 07, 2017


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most severe complications of diabetes mellitus. This study aimed to determine the effects and potential mechanism of caffeic acid para-nitro phenethyl ester (CAPE-pNO2), a derivative of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), on DN; In vivo, intraperitoneal injections of streptozotocin (STZ) were used to induce diabetes in mice; then, the mice were intraperitoneally injected daily with CAPE or CAPE-pNO2 for 8 weeks. The mice were sacrificed, and blood samples and kidney tissues were collected to measure biological indexes. The results showed that CAPE and CAPE-pNO2 could lower serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, 24-h albumin excretion, malondialdehyde and myeloperoxidase levels and increase superoxide dismutase activity in diabetic mice. According to HE, PAS and Masson staining, these two compounds ameliorated structural changes and fibrosis in the kidneys. In addition, the immunohistochemical and western blot results showed that CAPE and CAPE-pNO2 inhibited inflammation through the Akt/NF-κB pathway and prevented renal fibrosis through the TGF-β/Smad pathway. In vitro, CAPE and CAPE-pNO2 inhibited glomerular mesangial cell (GMC) proliferation, arrested cell cycle progression and suppressed ROS generation. These compounds also inhibited ECM accumulation via regulating the TGF-β1, which was a similar effect to that of the NF-κB inhibitor PDTC. More importantly, CAPE and CAPE-pNO2 could up-regulate nitric oxide synthase expression in STZ-induced diabetic mice and HG-induced GMCs. CAPE-pNO2 had stronger effects than CAPE both in vivo and in vitro. These data suggest that CAPE-pNO2 ameliorated DN by suppressing oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis via the Akt/NF-κB/ iNOS pathway.

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