Thrombospondin-1 is the key activator of TGF-beta1 in human mesangial cells exposed to high glucose.J Am Soc Nephrol. 2001 Apr; 12(4):703-12.JA
Elevated levels of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) are synthesized by human mesangial cells that are cultured in medium that contains high concentrations of glucose and mediate increased synthesis of fibronectin (FN), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and changes in the expression of other genes. TGF-beta1 is synthesized as a latent complex. Previous work indicated that high-glucose conditions also upregulate expression of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a potential activator of latent TGF-beta1. With the use of the synthetic peptide GGWSHW, an inhibitor of the TSP-1 activation mechanism, endogenous TSP-1 is shown to be responsible for converting high levels of latent TGF-beta1 to bioactive growth factor over 3 wk of exposure of mesangial cells to 30 mM D-glucose. Peptide inhibition of TGF-beta1 activation by TSP-1 in high-glucose conditions completely suppressed increases in FN and PAI-1 expression. Treating mesangial cells maintained in high glucose with a TSP-1 antisense oligonucleotide reduced TSP-1 expression to levels found in 4 mM D-glucose cultures, prevented TGF-beta1 activation, and normalized expression of FN.