Pharmacological blockade of the N-and L-type calcium channel lessens renal injury in kidney disease patients. The significance of specific blockade of α1 subunit of N-type calcium channel, Cav2.2, in diabetic nephropathy, however, remains to be clarified. To examine functional roles, we mated Cav2.2-/- mice with db/db (diabetic) mice on the C57BLKS background. Cav2.2 was localized in glomeruli including podocytes and in distal tubular cells. Diabetic Cav2.2-/- mice significantly reduced urinary albumin excretion, glomerular hyperfiltration, blood glucose levels, histological deterioration and systolic blood pressure (SBP) with decreased urinary catecholamine compared to diabetic Cav2.2+/+ mice. Interestingly, diabetic heterozygous Cav2.2+/- mice also decreased albuminuria, although they exhibited comparable systolic blood pressure, sympathetic nerve activity and creatinine clearance to diabetic Cav2.2+/+ mice. Consistently, diabetic mice with cilnidipine, an N-/L-type calcium channel blocker, showed a reduction in albuminuria and improvement of glomerular changes compared to diabetic mice with nitrendipine. In cultured podocytes, depolarization-dependent calcium responses were decreased by Ω-conotoxin, a Cav2.2-specific inhibitor. Furthermore, reduction of nephrin by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in podocytes was abolished with Ω-conotoxin, cilnidipine or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor. In conclusion, Cav2.2 inhibition exerts renoprotective effects against the progression of diabetic nephropathy, partly by protecting podocytes.
- Diabetic nephropathy