Different complex mechanisms control the morphology of podocyte foot processes and their interactions with the underlying basement membrane. Injuries to this system often cause glomerular dysfunction and albuminuria. The present study aimed at identifying early markers of glomerular damage in diabetic nephropathy. For this purpose, we performed a microarray analysis on kidneys of 3-week-old PPARγ null and AZIP/F1 mice, which are two models of diabetic nephropathy due to lipodystrophy. This was followed by functional annotation of the enriched clusters of genes. One of the significant changes in the early stages of glomerular damage was the increase of hemicentin 1 (HMCN1). Its expression and distribution were then studied by real-time PCR and immunofluorescence in various models of glomerular damage and on podocyte cell cultures. HMCN1 progressively increased in the glomeruli of diabetic mice, according to disease severity, as well as in puromycin aminonucleoside (PA)-treated rats. Studies on murine and human podocytes showed an increased HMCN1 deposition upon different pathological stimuli, such as hyperglycemia, TGFβ, and PA. In vitro silencing studies showed that HMCN1 mediated the rearrangements of podocyte cytoskeleton induced by TGFβ. Finally, we demonstrated an increased expression of HMCN1 in the kidneys of patients with proteinuric nephropathies. In summary, our studies identified HMCN1 as a new molecule involved in the dynamic changes of podocyte foot processes. Its increased expression associated with podocyte dysfunction points to HMCN1 as a possible marker for the early glomerular damage occurring in different proteinuric nephropathies.
F-actin; diabetic nephropathy; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; glomerular basement membrane; microarray analysis
- PMID: 29488390