Isoliquiritigenin entails blockade of TGF-beta1-SMAD signaling for retarding high glucose-induced mesangial matrix accumulation.
J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Mar 10 ;58(5):3205-12. PMID: 20146476
Diabetic nephropathy characterized as mesangial fibrosis and glomerulosclerosis results in renal failure and end-stage renal diseases. Enhanced expression and secretion of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) play an important role in the expansion of glomerular mesangial matrix mostly composed of type IV collagen. Isoliquiritigenin can prevent various renal injuries via its anti-inflammatory action. However, the effect of isoliquiritigenin on diabetic nephropathy has never been explored. The present study was to investigate whether nontoxic isoliquiritigenin inhibited high glucose (HG)-induced mesangial fibrosis by retarding formation of type IV collagen as well as CTGF in human mesangial cells (HRMC). Serum starved cells were cultured in media containing 5.5 mM glucose plus 27.5 mM mannitol as an osmotic control or 33 mM glucose for 3 days with and without 1-20 microM isoliquiritigenin. Exposure of cells to HG caused marked increases in collagen secretion and CTGF expression, which was dose-dependently reversed by isoliquiritigenin at the transcriptional levels. Additionally, isoliquiritigenin boosted HG-plummeted type matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MT-1 MMP) expression and dampened HG-elevated tissue inhibitor of MMP-2 (TIMP-2) expression, facilitating the degradation of mesangial matrix. Isoliquiritigenin inhibited HG-upregulated CTGF and TIMP-2 expression via disturbing TGF-beta1 signaling in HRMC, as evidenced by TGF-beta receptor I kinase (TGF-beta RI) inhibitor. HG-activated SMAD2 through autocrine TGF-beta signaling was repealed by>or =10 microM isoliquiritigenin. HG induced SMAD4 expression of HRMC and obliterated antagonistic SMAD7, whereas isoliquiritigenin suppressed induction of TGF-beta RII and TGF-beta RI with blunting their downstream SMAD signaling. The results demonstrate that the bioactive isoliquiritigenin in licorice diminished mesangial matrix accumulation in response to ambient HG through retarding TGF-beta1-SMAD signaling transduction. Therefore, isoliquiritigenin may be a potential therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of mesangial fibrosis and glomerulosclerosis leading to diabetic nephropathy due to longstanding diabetes mellitus.