Background: Altered regulation of signaling pathways may contribute to the pathogenesis of renal disease. We examined renal cortical signaling pathways in type 2 diabetes.
Methods: The status of renal cortical signaling pathways was examined in control and db/db mice with type 2 diabetes in the early phase of diabetic nephropathy associated with renal matrix expansion and albuminuria.
Results: Tyrosine phosphorylation of renal cortical proteins was increased in diabetic mice. Renal cortical activities of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) in antiphosphotyrosine immunoprecipitates, Akt (PKB), and ERK1/2-type mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activities were significantly augmented sixfold (P < 0.01), twofold (P < 0.0003), and sevenfold (P < 0.001), respectively, in diabetic mice compared with controls. A part of the increased renal cortical PI 3-kinase activity was due to insulin receptor activation, as PI 3-kinase activity associated with beta chain of the insulin receptor was increased nearly fourfold (P < 0.0235). Additionally, the kinase activity of the immunoprecipitated insulin receptor beta chain was augmented in the diabetic renal cortex, and tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor was increased. In the liver, activities of PI 3-kinase in the antiphosphotyrosine immunoprecipitates and Akt also were increased threefold (P < 0.05) and twofold (P < 0.0002), respectively. However, there was no change in the hepatic insulin receptor-associated PI 3-kinase activity. Additionally, the hepatic ERK1/2-type MAP kinase activity was inhibited by nearly 50% (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that a variety of receptor signaling pathways are activated in the renal cortex of mice with type 2 diabetes, and suggest a role for augmented insulin receptor activity in nephropathy of type 2 diabetes.