Glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis represent the key events in development of diabetic nephropathy (DN), with connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and fibronectin 1 (FN-1) playing important roles in these pathogenic processes. To investigate whether the plant metabolite curcumin, which exerts epigenetic modulatory properties when applied as a pharmacological agent, may prevent DN via inhibition of the JNK pathway and epigenetic histone acetylation, diabetic and age-matched non-diabetic control mice were administered a 3-month course of curcumin analogue (C66), c-Jun N-terminal kinase inhibitor (JNKi, sp600125), or vehicle alone. At treatment end, half of the mice were sacrificed for analysis and the other half were maintained without treatment for an additional 3 months. Renal JNK phosphorylation was found to be significantly increased in the vehicle-treated diabetic mice, but not the C66- and JNKi-treated diabetic mice, at both the 3-month and 6-month time points. C66 and JNKi treatment also significantly prevented diabetes-induced renal fibrosis and dysfunction. Diabetes-related increases in histone acetylation, histone acetyl transferases' (HATs) activity, and the p300/CBP HAT expression were also significantly attenuated by C66 or JNKi treatment. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that C66 and JNKi treatments decreased H3-lysine9/14-acetylation (H3K9/14Ac) level and p300/CBP occupancy at the CTGF, PAI-1 and FN-1 gene promoters. Thus, C66 may significantly and persistently prevent renal injury and dysfunction in diabetic mice via down-regulation of diabetes-related JNK activation and consequent suppression of the diabetes-related increases in HAT activity, p300/CBP expression, and histone acetylation.
Keywords: Curcumin; Diabetic nephropathy; Fibrosis; Histone acetylation; JNK; p300/CBP.
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