Blood pressure and glucose independent renoprotective effects of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibition in a mouse model of type-2 diabetic nephropathy

J Hypertens. 2014 Nov;32(11):2211-23; discussion 2223. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000328.


Background: Despite the beneficial effects of type 4 dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-4) inhibitors on glucose levels, its effects on diabetic nephropathy remain unclear.

Method: This study examined the long-term renoprotective effects of DPP-4 inhibitor linagliptin in db/db mice, a model of type 2 diabetes. Results were compared with the known beneficial effects of renin-angiotensin system blockade by enalapril. Ten-week-old male diabetic db/db mice were treated for 3 months with either vehicle (n = 10), 3 mg linagliptin/kg per day (n = 8), or 20 mg enalapril/kg per day (n = 10). Heterozygous db/m mice treated with vehicle served as healthy controls (n = 8).

Results: Neither linagliptin nor enalapril had significant effects on the parameters of glucose metabolism or blood pressure in diabetic db/db mice. However, linagliptin treatment reduced albuminuria and attenuated kidney injury. In addition, expression of podocyte marker podocalyxin was normalized. We also analysed DPP-4 expression by immunofluorescence in human kidney biopsies and detected upregulation of DPP-4 in the glomeruli of patients with diabetic nephropathy, suggesting that our findings might be of relevance for human kidney disease as well.

Conclusion: Treatment with DPP-4 inhibitor linagliptin delays the progression of diabetic nephropathy damage in a glucose-independent and blood-pressure-independent manner. The observed effects may be because of the attenuation of podocyte injury and inhibition of myofibroblast transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / etiology
  • Albuminuria / prevention & control
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / prevention & control*
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enalapril / therapeutic use
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Linagliptin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Linagliptin
  • Enalapril
  • Glucose