Targeting methylglyoxal in diabetic kidney disease using the mitochondria-targeted compound mitogamide

Sih Min Tan, Runa S.J. Lindblom, Mark Ziemann, Adrienne Laskowski, Cesare Granata, Matthew Snelson, Vicki Thallas-Bonke, Assam El-Osta, Carlos D. Baeza-Garza, Stuart T. Caldwell, Richard C. Hartley, Thomas Krieg, Mark E. Cooper, Michael P. Murphy, Melinda T. Coughlan

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Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remains the number one cause of end-stage renal disease in the western world. In experimental diabetes, mitochondrial dysfunction in the kidney precedes the development of DKD. Reactive 1,2-dicarbonyl compounds, such as methylglyoxal, are generated from sugars both endogenously during diabetes and exogenously during food processing. Methylgly-oxal is thought to impair the mitochondrial function and may contribute to the pathogenesis of DKD. Here, we sought to target methylglyoxal within the mitochondria using MitoGamide, a mitochondria-targeted dicarbonyl scavenger, in an experimental model of diabetes. Male 6-week-old heterozygous Akita mice (C57BL/6-Ins2-Akita/J) or wildtype littermates were randomized to receive MitoGamide (10 mg/kg/day) or a vehicle by oral gavage for 16 weeks. MitoGamide did not alter the blood glucose control or body composition. Akita mice exhibited hallmarks of DKD including albuminuria, hyper-filtration, glomerulosclerosis, and renal fibrosis, however, after 16 weeks of treatment, MitoGamide did not substantially improve the renal phenotype. Complex-I-linked mitochondrial respiration was increased in the kidney of Akita mice which was unaffected by MitoGamide. Exploratory studies using transcriptomics identified that MitoGamide induced changes to olfactory signaling, immune system, respiratory electron transport, and post-translational protein modification pathways. These findings indicate that targeting methylglyoxal within the mitochondria using MitoGamide is not a valid therapeutic approach for DKD and that other mitochondrial targets or processes upstream should be the focus of therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1457
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2021


  • Diabetes
  • Dicarbonyl
  • Kidney
  • Methylglyoxal
  • Mitochondria
  • MitoGamide
  • Sugar-derived products

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