Meprin metalloproteases have been implicated in the pathophysiology of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the meprin-β gene have been associated with DKD in Pima Indians, a Native American ethnic group with an extremely high prevalence of DKD. In African American men with diabetes, urinary meprin excretion positively correlated with the severity of kidney injury. In mice, meprin activity decreased at the onset of diabetic kidney injury. Several studies have identified meprin targets in the kidney. However, it is not known how proteolytic processing of the targets by meprins impacts the metabolite milieu in kidneys. In the present study, global metabolomics analysis identified differentiating metabolites in kidney tissues from wild-type and meprin-β knockout mice with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced type 1 diabetes. Kidney tissues were harvested at 8 wk post-STZ and analyzed by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Principal component analysis identified >200 peaks associated with diabetes. Meprin expression-associated metabolites with strong variable importance of projection scores were indoxyl sulfate, N-γ-l-glutamyl-l-aspartic acid, N-methyl-4-pyridone-3-carboxamide, inosine, and cis-5-decenedioic acid. N-methyl-4-pyridone-3-carboxamide has been previously implicated in kidney injury, and its isomers, 4-PY and 2-PY, are markers of peroxisome proliferation and inflammation that correlate with creatinine clearance and glucose tolerance. Meprin deficiency-associated differentiating metabolites with high variable importance of projection scores were cortisol, hydroxymethoxyphenylcarboxylic acid-O-sulfate, and isovaleryalanine. The data suggest that meprin-β activity enhances diabetic kidney injury in part by altering the metabolite balance in kidneys, favoring high levels of uremic toxins such as indoxyl sulfate and N-methyl-pyridone-carboxamide.
Keywords: diabetic kidney injury; meprin metalloproteases; meprin β; metabolites; streptozotocin.