Phenethyl isothiocyanate attenuates diabetic nephropathy via modulation of glycative/oxidative/inflammatory signaling in diabetic rats

Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Oct;142:111666. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111666. Epub 2021 Jun 29.


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a diabetic complication characterized by disruption of renal microvasculature, reactive oxygen species accumulation and increased inflammation, all of which contribute to renal injury. Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, yet its reno-preventive effects against DN has not been investigated. The current study looked into the in vivo reno-protective effects of PEITC in STZ-induced DN in rats. PEITC (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg) was administered orally for 8 weeks post DM establishment. PEITC treatment significantly improved kidney and liver functions, renal histopathological features, tissue fibrosis, macrophage infiltration and blood glucose levels compared to DN control. Mechanistically, PEITC treatment alleviated DN-induced renal damage via modulating glycation and oxidative stresses and inflammatory response. As such, PEITC activated glyoxalase 1 (GLO1) that induced a retraction in renal tissue expression of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and its receptor (RAGE). PEITC activated nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and increased expression of its downstream targets, hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) and gamma glutamate-cysteine (γ-GCS). Additionally, PEITC treatment decreased the expression of Nrf2 repressor protein, keap1. The anti-inflammatory effect of PEITC was driven, at least in part, via reducing the NLRP3 inflammasome activation as indicated by down regulation of NLRP3, TXNIP, capsase-1 and IL-1β, TNF-alpha and IL-6. In conclusion; PEITC attenuated DN progression in a dose dependent manner mainly via interruption of AGE/RAGE and NLPR3/TXNIP/NrF2 crosstalk.

Keywords: Diabetic nephropathy; Glycation; NLPR3; Oxidative stress; PEITC.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / genetics
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / metabolism
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Isothiocyanates / administration & dosage
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Protective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Streptozocin
  • Up-Regulation


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Isothiocyanates
  • KEAP1 protein, rat
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, rat
  • Protective Agents
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Streptozocin
  • phenethyl isothiocyanate
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Hmox1 protein, rat
  • Glo1 protein, rat
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase