Nox4 and diabetic nephropathy: with a friend like this, who needs enemies?

Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Aug;61:130-42. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2013.03.014. Epub 2013 Mar 23.


Oxidative stress has been linked to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, a complication of diabetes in the kidney. NADPH oxidases of the Nox family are a major source of reactive oxygen species in the diabetic kidney and are critical mediators of redox signaling in glomerular and tubulointerstitial cells exposed to the diabetic milieu. Here, we present an overview of the current understanding of the roles of Nox catalytic and regulatory subunits in the processes that control mesangial cell, podocyte, and tubulointerstitial cell injury induced by hyperglycemia and other predominant factors enhanced in the diabetic milieu, including the renin-angiotensin system and transforming growth factor-β. The role of the Nox isoform Nox4 in the redox processes that alter renal biology in diabetes is highlighted.

Keywords: Diabetic complications; Diabetic nephropathy; Free radicals; Glomerular cell injury; Hyperglycemia; NADPH oxidases of the Nox family; Nox4; Oxidative stress; Reactive oxygen species; Tubulointerstitial cell injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Glomerular Mesangium / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NADPH Oxidases / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX4 protein, human