Insulin increases surface expression of TRPC6 channels in podocytes: role of NADPH oxidases and reactive oxygen species

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2012 Feb 1;302(3):F298-307. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00423.2011. Epub 2011 Oct 26.


Insulin receptors in podocytes are essential for normal kidney function. Here, we show that insulin evokes a rapid increase in the surface expression of canonical transient receptor potential-6 channel (TRPC6) channels in cultured podocytes, but caused a decrease in surface expression of TRPC5. These effects are accompanied by a marked increase in outwardly rectifying cationic currents that can be blocked by 10 μM SKF96365 or 100 μM La(3+). Application of oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG) also increased SKF96365- and La(3+)-sensitive cationic currents in podocytes. Importantly, current responses to a combination of OAG and insulin were the same amplitude as those evoked by either agent applied alone. This occlusion effect suggests that OAG and insulin are targeting the same population of channels. In addition, shRNA knockdown of TRPC6 markedly reduced cationic currents stimulated by insulin. The effects of insulin on TRPC6 were mimicked by treating podocytes with H(2)O(2). Insulin treatment rapidly increased the generation of H(2)O(2) in podocytes, and it increased the surface expression of the NADPH oxidase NOX4 in cultured podocytes. Basal and insulin-stimulated surface expression of TRPC6 were reduced by pretreatment with diphenylene iodonium, an inhibitor of NADPH oxidases and other flavin-dependent enzymes, by siRNA knockdown of NOX4, and by manganese (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin chloride, a membrane-permeable mimetic of superoxide dismutase and catalase. These observations suggest that insulin increases generation of ROS in part through activation of NADPH oxidases, and that this step contributes to modulation of podocyte TRPC6 channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Cations / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / genetics
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / metabolism
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / physiopathology*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Metalloporphyrins / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Podocytes / cytology
  • Podocytes / physiology*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • TRPC Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPC Cation Channels / metabolism
  • TRPC Cation Channels / physiology*


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Cations
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Imidazoles
  • Insulin
  • Metalloporphyrins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Trpc6 protein, mouse
  • manganese(III)-tetrakis(4-benzoic acid)porphyrin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • Nox4 protein, mouse
  • 1-(2-(3-(4-methoxyphenyl)propoxy)-4-methoxyphenylethyl)-1H-imidazole