miR-196b-5p-enriched extracellular vesicles from tubular epithelial cells mediated aldosterone-induced renal fibrosis in mice with diabetes

Renzhi Hu, Xuan Li, Chuan Peng, Ruifei Gao, Linqiang Ma, Jinbo Hu, Ting Luo, Hua Qing, Yue Wang, Qian Ge, Zhihong Wang, Chaodong Wu, Xiaoqiu Xiao, Jun Yang, Morag J. Young, Qifu Li, Shumin Yang

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INTRODUCTION: Aldosterone is a mediator of progressive renal disease, but the mechanisms for aldosterone-mediated renal impairment in mice with diabetes are not fully defined. METHODS: Aldosterone and/or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist eplerenone were used to treat the db/db mice with diabetes. Proximal tubule epithelial cells (PTECs) and fibroblasts were cultured. Blood and kidney samples from patients with diabetes with or without diabetic kidney disease (DKD) were used to verify the findings from animals and cultured cells. RESULTS: We found that aldosterone promoted proteinuria and tubulointerstitial extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation in db/db mice with diabetes while eplerenone mitigated the adverse effect of aldosterone. However, coculture of PTECs and fibroblasts found that when PTECs-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) were taken up by fibroblasts, ECM production increased remarkably. Moreover, C57BL/6 mice injected with EVs from renal cortex of aldosterone-treated db/db mice showed increased ECM accumulation. Function of the ingredients of PTECs-derived EVs were analyzed, and RNAs were identified to be responsible for the EVs-induced fibroblast dysfunction. Furthermore, microRNA (miRNA) array analysis revealed that miR-196b-5p was the most remarkably increased miRNA in PTECs-derived EVs with aldosterone stimulation. Overexpression of miR-196b-5p in fibroblasts increased ECM production, accompanied by inhibition of the SOCS2 expression and enhanced STAT3 phosphorylation. In addition, plasma levels of miR-196b-5p was higher in patients with DKD as compared with patients without DKD and miR-196b-5p levels positively correlated with the albuminuria concentration. In kidney specimens from patients with diabetes, expression of miR-196b-5p, located mainly in PTECs, increased in patients with DKD as compared with the non-DKD. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the involvement of miR-196b-5p-EVs pathway as a novel mechanism in aldosterone-induced renal fibrosis in diabetes. EVs rich in miR-196b-5p mediate the crosstalk between PTECs and fibroblast during the development of renal fibrosis, which might be associated with STAT3/SOCO2 signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001101
Number of pages12
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • fibroblast
  • fibrosis
  • tubulointerstitial changes

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