Recent studies have demonstrated that an inflammatory mechanism contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). It is also known that colchicine (Col) can prevent various renal injuries via its anti-inflammatory action. However, the effect of colchicine on DN has never been explored. This study was undertaken to elucidate the effect of colchicine on inflammation and extracellular matrix accumulation in DN. In vivo, 64 rats were injected with diluent (C; n = 32) or streptozotocin intraperitoneally (DM, n = 32). Sixteen rats from each group were treated with Col. In vitro, rat mesangial cells and NRK-52E cells were cultured in media with 5.6 mM glucose (NG) or 30 mM glucose (HG) with or without 10-8 M Col. Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) mRNA expression was determined by real-time PCR (RTPCR), and the levels of MCP-1 in renal tissue and culture media were measured by ELISA. RT-PCR and Western blotting were also performed for intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and fibronectin (FN) mRNA and protein expression, respectively, and immuno-histochemical staining (IHC) for ICAM-1, FN, and ED-1 with renal tissue. Twenty-four-hour urinary albumin excretion at 6 wk and 3 mo were significantly higher in DM compared with C rats (P = 0.05), and colchicine treatment significantly reduced albuminuria in DM rats (P = 0.05). Col significantly inhibited the increase in MCP-1 mRNA expression and protein levels under diabetic conditions both in vivo and in vitro. ICAM-1 and FN expression showed a similar pattern to the expression of MCP-1. IHC revealed that the number of ED-1(+) cells were significantly higher in DM compared with C kidney (P < 0.005), and this increase was significantly attenuated by Col treatment (P < 0.01). In conclusion, Col prevents not only inflammatory cell infiltration via inhibition of enhanced MCP-1 and ICAM-1 expression but also ECM accumulation in DN. These findings provide a new perspective on the renoprotective effects of Col in DN.
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