Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and their receptor (RAGE) play a role in diabetic nephropathy. We have recently found that linagliptin, an inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) suppresses the AGE-induced oxidative stress generation and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) gene expression in endothelial cells. However, whether linagliptin could have beneficial effects on experimental diabetic nephropathy in a glucose-lowering independent manner remains unknown. To address the issue, this study examined the effects of linagliptin on renal damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Serum levels of DPP-4 were significantly elevated in diabetic rats compared with control rats. Although linagliptin treatment for 2 weeks did not improve hyperglycemia in diabetic rats, linagliptin significantly reduced AGEs levels, RAGE gene expression, and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine, a marker of oxidative stress in the kidney of diabetic rats. Furthermore, linagliptin significantly reduced albuminuria, renal ICAM-1 mRNA levels, and lymphocyte infiltration into the glomeruli of diabetic rats. Our present study suggests that linagliptin could exert beneficial effects on diabetic nephropathy partly by blocking the AGE-RAGE-evoked oxidative stress generation in the kidney of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Inhibition of DPP-4 by linagliptin might be a promising strategy for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
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