Background: Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most important microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We studied the expression characteristics of angiopoietin-like 2 (ANGPTL2), a novel DN-associated growth factor identified in our previous gene chip screening.
Methods: Glomeruli were microdissected from renal biopsies from 24 patients with DN and 8 donor controls. The expression of ANGPTL2 was assessed by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, and then correlated with clinical and pathological indices of glomerular injury.
Results: Consistent with the results of the gene chip experiment, abundant expression of ANGPTL2 was found more frequently in diabetic glomeruli as compared to donor controls (95 vs. 38%, chi(2) = 15.9, p < 0.01). ANGPTL2 mRNA upregulation was more prominent in glomeruli with less microaneurysm (22 vs. 66%, p < 0.05), inflammatory influx (6 vs. 50%, p < 0.05) or endothelial foam cell formation (11 vs. 53%, p < 0.05). Immunostaining revealed an upregulation of ANGPTL2 protein in hypertrophied diabetic glomeruli, mainly distributed in podocytes, which were supposed to be the origin of ANGPTL2.
Conclusion: The upregulation of ANGPTL2 in diabetic glomerulopathy shows a close relationship to abnormal microvasculature and endothelial inflammation. ANGPTL2 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetic glomerulopathy.
Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.