Heat shock protein expression in diabetic nephropathy

Federica Barutta, Silvia Pinach, Sara Giunti, Ferdinando Vittone, Josephine M. Forbes, Roberto Chiarle, Maryann Arnstein, Paolo Cavallo Perin, Giovanni Camussi, Mark E. Cooper, Gabriella Gruden

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Heat shock protein (HSP) HSP27, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP90 are induced by cellular stresses and play a key role in cytoprotection. Both hyperglycemia and glomerular hypertension are crucial determinants in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy and impose cellular stresses on renal target cells. We studied both the expression and the phosphorylation state of HSP27, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP90 in vivo in rats made diabetic with streptozotocin and in vitro in mesangial cells and podocytes exposed to either high glucose or mechanical stretch. Diabetic and control animals were studied 4, 12, and 24 wk after the onset of diabetes. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed an overexpression of HSP25, HSP60, and HSP72 in the diabetic outer medulla, whereas no differences were seen in the glomeruli. Similarly, exposure neither to high glucose nor to stretch altered HSP expression in mesangial cells and podocytes. By contrast, the phosphorylated form of HSP27 was enhanced in the glomerular podocytes of diabetic animals, and in vitro exposure of podocytes to stretch induced HSP27 phosphorylation via a P38-dependent mechanism. In conclusion, diabetes and diabetes-related insults differentially modulate HSP27, HSP60, and HSP70 expression/phosphorylation in the glomeruli and in the medulla, and this may affect the ability of renal cells to mount an effective cytoprotective response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F1817-F1824
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Glomerular epithelial cells
  • Mechanical stretch
  • Mesangial cells

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