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Berberine ameliorates experimental diabetes-induced renal inflammation and fibronectin by inhibiting the activation of RhoA/ROCK signaling

Xie, Xi, Chang, Xiuting, Chen, Lei, Huang, Kaipeng, Huang, Juan, Wang, Shaogui, Shen, Xiaoyan, Liu, Peiqing, Huang, Heqing
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 2013 v.381 pp. 56-65
acetylcysteine, berberine, diabetic nephropathy, fibronectins, fibrosis, inflammation, kidneys, pathogenesis, rats, reactive oxygen species, renoprotective effect, transcription factor NF-kappa B
The accumulation of glomerular extracellular matrix proteins, especially fibronectin (FN), is a critical pathological characteristic of diabetic renal fibrosis. Inflammation mediated by nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). RhoA/ROCK signaling is responsible for FN accumulation and NF-κB activation. Berberine (BBR) treatment significantly inhibited renal inflammation and thus improved renal damage in diabetes. Here, we study whether BBR inhibits FN accumulation and NF-κB activation by inhibiting RhoA/ROCK signaling and the underlying mechanisms involved. Results showed that BBR effectively inhibited RhoA/ROCK signaling activation in diabetic rat kidneys and high glucose-induced glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) and simultaneously down-regulated NF-κB activity, which was accompanied by reduced intercellular adhesionmolecule-1, transforming growth factor-beta 1 and FN overproduction. Furthermore, we observed that BBR abrogated high glucose-mediated reactive oxygen species generation in GMCs. BBR and N-acetylcysteine inhibited RhoA/ROCK signaling activation in high glucose-exposed GMCs. Collectively, our data suggest that the renoprotective effect of BBR on DN partly depends on RhoA/ROCK inhibition. The anti-oxidative stress effect of BBR is responsible for RhoA/ROCK inhibition in DN.