EGFR inhibition attenuates diabetic nephropathy through decreasing ROS and endoplasmic reticulum stress.Oncotarget 2017; 8(20):32655-32667O
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a progressive kidney disease due to glomerular capillary damage in diabetic patients. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) is associated with DN progression. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mediates oxidative stress and damage of cardiomyocytes in diabetic mice. Here we demonstrated that AG1478, a specific inhibitor of EGFR, blocked EGFR and AKT phosphorylation in diabetic mice. Oxidative stress and ER stress markers were eliminated after AG1478 administration. AG1478 decreased pro-fibrotic genes TGF-β and collagen IV. Furthermore, we found that high glucose (HG) induced oxidative stress and ER stress, and subsequently increased ATF4 and CHOP. These changes were eliminated by either AG1478 or ROS scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) administration. These results were confirmed by knock-down approaches in renal mesangial SV40 cells. However, AG1478, not NAC, reversed HG induced EGFR and AKT phosphorylation. These results suggest that EGFR/AKT/ROS/ER stress signaling plays an essential role in DN development and inhibiting EGFR may serve as a potential therapeutic strategy in diabetic kidney diseases.