Decorin, a small leucine-rich proteoglycan, affects the synthesis of the elastic fiber component fibrillin-1 in the kidney via hitherto unknown mechanisms. Here, we show that decorin binds to and induces phosphorylation of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) receptor in renal fibroblasts. Inhibition of the IGF-I receptor tyrosine kinase and its downstream target phosphoinositide-3 kinase prevented decorin-mediated synthesis of fibrillin-1. Furthermore, decorin induced phosphorylation of phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1, protein kinase B/Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and p70 S6 kinase. Accordingly, the enhanced synthesis of fibrillin-1 was blocked by rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR. Notably, IGF-I, which signals through the same pathway, also stimulated fibrillin-1 synthesis. Systemic administration of rapamycin to mice subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction, a model of renal fibrosis and increased fibrillin-1 synthesis, markedly reduced the number of interstitial fibroblasts and fibrillin-1 deposition. In streptozotocin-induced diabetes, IGF-I receptor was up-regulated in the kidneys from decorin-null mice. However, this could not compensate for the decorin deficiency, resulting ultimately in decreased fibrillin-1 content. This study provides evidence for the involvement of decorin and the IGF-I receptor/mTOR/p70 S6 kinase signaling pathway in the translational regulation of fibrillin-1.