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Involvement of inflammation-related miR-155 and miR-146a in diabetic nephropathy: implications for glomerular endothelial injury

Youqun Huang1, Yan Liu2, Ling Li1, Baihai Su1, Lichuan Yang1, Wenxin Fan1, Qinghua Yin1, Lijia Chen1, Tianlei Cui1, Jie Zhang3, Yanrong Lu3, Jingqiu Cheng3, Ping Fu1 and Fang Liu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Nephrology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China

2 Laboratory Animal Center of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China

3 Key Laboratory of Transplant Engineering and Immunology, Ministry of Health, Regenerative Medicine Research Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, China

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BMC Nephrology 2014, 15:142  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-142

Published: 2 September 2014



MicroRNAs have been demonstrated to play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). In this study, we investigated both the repertoire of miRNAs in the kidneys of patients with DN and their potential regulatory role in inflammation-mediated glomerular endothelial injury.


The miRNA expression profiling of the renal biopsy samples was performed by a microarray analysis; then, in situ hybridization and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were used to determine the localization and expression of two of the miRNAs significantly up-regulated in human DN kidney samples, miR-155 and miR-146a, in the kidney tissues from type 1 and type 2 DN rat models. Human renal glomerular endothelial cells (HRGECs) cultured under high-glucose conditions were transfected with miR-155 and miR-146a mimics, and the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and nuclear factor (NF)-κB expressions were examined by western blot, real-time PCR, and an electrophoresis mobility shift assay.


The expression of both miR-155 and miR-146a was increased more than fivefold in the kidney samples of the DN patients compared with the controls, and the miR-155 expression was closely correlated with the serum creatinine levels (R = 0.95, P = 0.004). During the induction and progression of the disease in type 1 and type 2 DN rat models, miR-155 and miR-146a were demonstrated to increase gradually. In vitro, high glucose induced the over-expression of miR-155 and miR-146a in the HRGECs, which, in turn, increased the TNF-α, TGF-β1, and NF-κB expression.


Taken together, these findings indicate that the increased expression of miR-155 and miR-146a in the DN patients and in the experimental DN animal models was found to contribute to inflammation-mediated glomerular endothelial injury.