Tranilast attenuates the up-regulation of thioredoxin-interacting protein and oxidative stress in an experimental model of diabetic nephropathy

Sih Min Tan, Yuan Zhang, Alison J. Cox, Darren J. Kelly, Weier Qi

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Background. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of kidney failure in the developed world. Tranilast has been reported to not only act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic compound, but it also exerts anti-oxidative stress effects in diabetic nephropathy. Thioredoxin-interacting protein (Txnip) is the endogenous inhibitor of the anti-oxidant thioredoxin and is highly up-regulated in diabetic nephropathy, leading to oxidative stress and fibrosis. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether tranilast exerts its anti-oxidant properties through the inhibition of Txnip.Methods. Heterozygous Ren-2 rats were rendered diabetic with streptozotocin. Another group of rats were injected with citrate buffer alone and treated as non-diabetic controls. After 6 weeks of diabetes, diabetic rats were divided into two groups: one group gavaged with tranilast at 200 mg/kg/day and another group with vehicle.Results. Diabetic rats had a significant increase in albuminuria, tubulointerstitial fibrosis, peritubular collagen IV accumulation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and macrophage infiltration (all P < 0.05). These changes were associated with an increase in Txnip mRNA and protein expression in the tubules and glomeruli of diabetic kidney. Treatment with tranilast for 4 weeks significantly attenuated Txnip up-regulation in diabetic rats and this was associated with a reduction in ROS, fibrosis and macrophage infiltration (all P < 0.05).Conclusions. This is the first study to demonstrate that tranilast not only has anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects as previously reported but also attenuates the up-regulation of Txnip and oxidative stress in diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetic nephropathy
  • fibrosis
  • oxidative stress
  • thioredoxin-interacting protein

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