Lacking ketohexokinase-A exacerbates renal injury in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice

Metabolism. 2018 Aug;85:161-170. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2018.03.020. Epub 2018 Mar 29.


Objective: Ketohexokinase (KHK), a primary enzyme in fructose metabolism, has two isoforms, namely, KHK-A and KHK-C. Previously, we reported that renal injury was reduced in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice which lacked both isoforms. Although both isoforms express in kidney, it has not been elucidated whether each isoform plays distinct roles in the development of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). The aim of the study is to elucidate the role of KHK-A for DKD progression.

Materials and methods: Diabetes was induced by five consecutive daily intraperitoneal injections of streptozotocin (50 mg/kg) in C57BL/6J wild-type mice, mice lacking KHK-A alone (KHK-A KO), and mice lacking both KHK-A and KHK-C (KHK-A/C KO). At 35 weeks, renal injury, inflammation, hypoxia, and oxidative stress were examined. Metabolomic analysis including polyol pathway, fructose metabolism, glycolysis, TCA (tricarboxylic acid) cycle, and NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) metabolism in kidney and urine was done.

Results: Diabetic KHK-A KO mice developed severe renal injury compared to diabetic wild-type mice, and this was associated with further increases of intrarenal fructose, dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP), TCA cycle intermediate levels, and severe inflammation. In contrast, renal injury was prevented in diabetic KHK-A/C KO mice compared to both wild-type and KHK-A KO diabetic mice. Further, diabetic KHK-A KO mice contained decreased renal NAD+ level with the increase of renal hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha expression despite having increased renal nicotinamide (NAM) level.

Conclusion: These results suggest that KHK-C might play a deleterious role in DKD progression through endogenous fructose metabolism, and that KHK-A plays a unique protective role against the development of DKD.

Keywords: Diabetic kidney disease; Fructose metabolism; Ketohexokinase; NAD metabolism; Oxidative stress; Tubular injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / genetics
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Fructokinases / genetics
  • Fructokinases / metabolism*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology


  • Fructokinases
  • ketohexokinase