Background: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is recognized as the final common mediator of the principal lesions of diabetic nephropathy such as renal hypertrophy and mesangial expansion. To gain better understanding of the temporal relationships between high glucose (HG) and mesangial cell (MC) TGF-beta 1 synthesis and between TGF-beta 1 and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis, the present study examined early and sequential effects of HG on TGF-beta 1 and fibronectin (FN) mRNA expression and protein synthesis.
Methods: Confluent primary rat MC was stimulated with 5.6 (control) or 30 (high) mM glucose after synchronizing the growth by incubation with serum-free media for 48 hours.
Results: Mesangial cell TGF-beta 1 mRNA expression increased significantly in six hours and continued to increase until 48 hours in response to HG. The level of TGF-beta 1 mRNA was 1.5-fold higher than that of control glucose at six hours and 1.8-fold at 48 hours. TGF-beta activity in heat-activated conditioned media under HG increased 1.5- and 1.6-fold at 24 and 48 hours, respectively, compared to control glucose. FN mRNA increased significantly at 24 and 48 hours and 1.4-fold that of control glucose at both time points. FN protein also increased 1.5-fold that of control glucose at 48 hours. Anti-TGF-beta antibody completely abolished HG-induced FN synthesis.
Conclusions: The present finding demonstrate that HG stimulates TGF-beta 1 very early and prior to FN production and that HG-induced FN production is mediated by TGF-beta. This finding is consistent with the view that TGF-beta mediates increased ECM accumulation by MC under high glucose conditions.