Human Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Attenuates ENaC and MARCKS and Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Diabetic db/db Mice

Biomolecules. 2022 Dec 29;13(1):66. doi: 10.3390/biom13010066.


Hypertension may develop before or after the onset of diabetes and it is known to increase the risk of developing diabetic nephropathy. Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a multi-functional protein with beneficial effects in various diseases but its role in reducing blood pressure in the diabetic kidney has not been thoroughly studied. Like blood pressure, epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) and its adaptor protein myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS) are regulated by circadian rhythms. Our hypothesis is that administration of human AAT (hAAT) reduces blood pressure in hypertensive diabetic mice by attenuating membrane expression of ENaC and its association with the actin cytoskeleton. First, we show hAAT administration results in reduced blood pressure in diabetic db/db mice compared to vehicle treatment in both the inactive and active cycles. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry analyses showed a reduction of ENaC and the actin cytoskeleton protein, MARCKS in the kidneys of diabetic db/db mice treated with hAAT compared to vehicle. hAAT treatment resulted in elevated amounts of extracellular vesicles present in the urine of diabetic db/db mice compared to vehicle treatment both in the inactive and active cycles. Multiple hexosylceramides, among other lipid classes increased in urinary EVs released from hAAT treated hypertensive diabetic mice compared to vehicle treated mice. Taken together, these data suggest hAAT treatment could normalize blood pressure in the diabetic kidney in a mechanism involving attenuation of renal ENaC and MARCKS protein expression and possibly ceramide metabolism to hexosylceramide in kidney cells.

Keywords: AAT; ENaC; MARCKS; diabetes; hypertension; kidney.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental* / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies* / drug therapy
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Myristoylated Alanine-Rich C Kinase Substrate
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / metabolism


  • MARCKS protein, human
  • Myristoylated Alanine-Rich C Kinase Substrate
  • Epithelial Sodium Channels
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1