Metallothionein (MT) is an intracellular metal-binding, cysteine-rich protein, and is a potent antioxidant that protects cells and tissues from oxidative stress. Although the major isoforms MT-1 and -2 (MT-1/-2) are highly inducible in many tissues, the distribution and role of MT-1/-2 in diabetic nephropathy are poorly understood. In this study, diabetes was induced in adult male rats by streptozotocin, and renal tissues were stained with antibodies for MT-1/-2. MT-1/-2 expression was also evaluated in mProx24 cells, a mouse renal proximal tubular epithelial cell line, stimulated with high glucose medium and pretreated with the antioxidant vitamin E. MT-1/-2 expression was gradually and dramatically increased, mainly in the proximal tubular epithelial cells and to a lesser extent in the podocytes in diabetic rats, but was hardly observed in control rats. MT-1/-2 expression was also increased by high glucose stimulation in mProx24 cells. Because the induction of MT was suppressed by pretreatment with vitamin E, the expression of MT-1/-2 is induced, at least in part, by high glucose-induced oxidative stress. These observations suggest that MT-1/-2 is induced in renal proximal tubular epithelial cells as an antioxidant to protect the kidney from oxidative stress, and may offer a novel therapeutic target against diabetic nephropathy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism