Camel milk attenuates the biochemical and morphological features of diabetic nephropathy: inhibition of Smad1 and collagen type IV synthesis

Chem Biol Interact. 2015 Mar 5;229:100-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2015.01.013. Epub 2015 Jan 21.


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a common microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus (DM) that worsens its morbidity and mortality. There is evidence that camel milk (CM) improves the glycemic control in DM but its effect on the renal complications especially the DN remains unclear. Thus the current study aimed to characterize the effects of CM treatment on streptozotocin (STZ)-induced DN. Using STZ-induced diabetes, we investigated the effect of CM treatment on kidney function, proteinuria, renal Smad1, collagen type IV (Col4), blood glucose, insulin resistance (IR), lipid peroxidation, the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione (GSH). In addition renal morphology was also examined. The current results showed that rats with untreated diabetes exhibited marked hyperglycemia, IR, high serum urea and creatinine levels, excessive proteinuria, increased renal Smad1 and Col4, glomerular expansion, and extracellular matrix deposition. There was also increased lipid peroxidation products, decreased antioxidant enzyme activity and GSH levels. Camel milk treatment decreased blood glucose, IR, and lipid peroxidation. Superoxide dismutase and CAT expression, CAT activity, and GSH levels were increased. The renoprotective effects of CM were demonstrated by the decreased serum urea and creatinine, proteinuria, Smad1, Col4, and preserved normal tubulo-glomerular morphology. In conclusion, beside its hypoglycemic action, CM attenuates the early changes of DN, decreased renal Smad1 and Col4. This could be attributed to a primary action on the glomerular mesangial cells, or secondarily to the hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of CM. The protective effects of CM against DN support its use as an adjuvant anti-diabetes therapy.

Keywords: Camel milk; Collagen type IV; Diabetic nephropathy; Oxidative stress; Proteinuria; Smad1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Camelus* / metabolism
  • Collagen Type IV / metabolism*
  • Collagen Type IV / urine
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / diet therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Male
  • Milk* / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Smad1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Smad1 Protein / urine


  • Blood Glucose
  • Collagen Type IV
  • Smad1 Protein