Background: Diabetic nephropathy is one of major complications of diabetes mellitus. Although chromium is an essential element for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, its effects on diabetic nephropathy are not well understood. The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of chromium picolinate (CrPic) and chromium histidinate (CrHis) on nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and nuclear factor-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) pathway in the rat kidney.
Methods: Male Wistar rats were divided into six groups. Group I received a standard diet (8% fat) and served as a control; Group II was fed with a standard diet and received CrPic; Group III was fed with a standard diet and received CrHis; Group IV received a high fat diet (HFD, 40% fat) for 2 weeks and then were injected with streptozotocin (STZ) (HFD/STZ); Group V was treated as group IV (HFD/STZ) but supplemented with CrPic for 12 weeks. Group VI was treated as group IV (HFD/STZ) but supplemented with CrHis.
Results: The increased NF-κβ p65 in the HFD/STZ group was inhibited by CrPic and CrHis supplementation (P < 0.05). In STZ-treated rats, a significant decrease in levels of nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha (IκBα) was found in kidney tissues when compared to control rats (P < 0.05). A significant increase in the levels of IκBα was observed in CrPic- and CrHis-treated rats when compared with STZ-treated rats. Renal Nrf2 levels were significantly decreased in diabetic rats compared with the control rats. There was a higher tendency for increase of kidney Nrf2 level and decrease in kidney NFκBp65 levels and 4- hydroxyl nonenal (4-HNE) protein adducts (P < 0.05) in diabetic rats.
Conclusion: Our result show that in kidney tissue CrHis/CrPic increases Nrf2 level, parallelly decreases NF-κB and partially restores IκBα levels in HFD/STZ group, suggesting that CrPic and CrHis may play a role in antioxidant defense system via the Nrf2 pathway by reducing inflammation through NF-κβ p65 inhibition. Moreover, a greater reduction in NF-κB expression and greater increases in expressions of IκBα and Nrf2 in diabetic rats supplemented with CrHis than rats supplemented with CrPic suggest that CrHis has more favorable effects than CrPic.