Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is an anti-oxidant enzyme normally upregulated in response to oxidant injury. Here we determined the role of HO-1 in podocyte apoptosis in glomeruli of streptozotocin-treated rats and in immortalized mouse podocytes cultured in media containing normal or high glucose. HO-1 expression, its activity, the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 protein, and active caspase-3 fragments were all significantly higher in isolated glomeruli of diabetic rats and in high glucose-treated podocytes. These increases were inhibited by zinc protoporphyrin treatment of the rats or by HO-1 siRNA treatment of the podocytes in culture. The number of apoptotic cells was also significantly increased in the glomeruli of diabetic rats and in high glucose-treated podocytes. Inhibition of HO-1 accentuated the increase in apoptotic cells both in vivo and in vitro. Our findings suggest that HO-1 expression protects against podocyte apoptosis under diabetic conditions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the BK21 (Brain Korea 21) Project for Medical Sciences, Yonsei University, and the Korean Science and Engineering Foundation grant funded by the Korean government (R01-2007-000-20263-0 and R13-2002-054-04001-0).
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