The natural drug DIAVIT is protective in a type II mouse model of diabetic nephropathy

Megan Stevens*, Christopher R. Neal, Elena C. Craciun, Maria Dronca, Steven J. Harper, Sebastian Oltean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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There is evidence to suggest that abnormal angiogenesis, inflammation, and fibrosis drive diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, there is no specific treatment to counteract these processes. We aimed to determine whether DIAVIT, a natural Vaccinium myrtillus (blueberry) and Hippophae Rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) extract, is protective in a model of type II DN. Diabetic db/db mice were administered DIAVIT in their drinking water for 14 weeks. We assessed the functional, structural, and ultra-structural phenotype of three experimental groups (lean+vehicle, db/db+vehicle, db/db+DIAVIT). We also investigated the angiogenic and fibrotic pathways involved in the mechanism of action of DIAVIT. Diabetic db/db mice developed hyperglycaemia, albuminuria, and an increased glomerular water permeability; the latter two were prevented by DIAVIT. db/db mice developed fibrotic glomeruli, endothelial insult, and glomerular ultra-structural changes, which were not present in DIAVIT-treated mice. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) splicing was altered in the db/db kidney cortex, increasing the pro-angiogenic VEGF-A 165 relative to the anti-angiogenic VEGF-A 165 b. This was partially prevented with DIAVIT treatment. Delphinidin, an anthocyanin abundant in DIAVIT, increased the VEGF-A 165 b expression relative to total VEGF-A 165 in cultured podocytes through phosphorylation of the splice factor SRSF6. DIAVIT, in particular delphinidin, alters VEGF-A splicing in type II DN, rescuing the DN phenotype. This study highlights the therapeutic potential of natural drugs in DN through the manipulation of gene splicing and expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0212910
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2019


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