The diabetic db/db mouse exhibits increased albumin excretion soon after the onset of obesity and hyperglycemia, and later manifests glomerular mesangial matrix expansion resembling that found in human diabetic nephropathy. Since the glomerular lesion in this rodent model of type 2 diabetes is associated with renal overexpression of mRNA encoding type IV collagen, we postulated that changes in the urinary excretion of collagen IV may reflect developing glomerular pathology. To explore this hypothesis, we monitored urinary collagen IV (measured by immunoassay) in db/db mice during the course of evolution of nephropathy. At age 8 weeks, collagen IV excretion was not different in diabetic compared to nondiabetic animals despite marked albuminuria, but was significantly increased in db/db compared to db/m mice at age 12 and 16 weeks. Serum levels of collagen IV did not significantly differ between normal versus diabetic mice at any age. Glomerular morphometry revealed mesangial matrix expansion at age 12 weeks, coincident with the rise in collagen IV excretion, which became more marked at age 16 weeks in association with reduced creatinine clearance and elevated serum creatinine. The findings suggest that increased urinary type IV collagen is a better indicator than albuminuria of developing glomerular matrix accumulation that results in compromised renal filtration function.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company