Huangkui capsule alleviates renal tubular epithelial-mesenchymal transition in diabetic nephropathy via inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and TLR4/NF-κB signaling.Phytomedicine. 2019 Apr; 57:203-214.P
Huangkui capsule (HKC), an anti-inflammatory Chinese modern patent medicine, has been now widely applied to the clinical therapy of diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, the overall therapeutic mechanisms in vivo are still unclear. Renal tubular epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is one of the major pathogenesis of renal interstitial fibrosis in DN. Recently, the physiological roles of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling are closely linked to EMT. But, it remains elusive whether HKC regulates renal tubular EMT in vivo through targeting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and TLR4/NF-κB signaling in the kidneys.
This study thereby aimed to clarify the therapeutic effects of HKC on renal tubular EMT in DN and its underlying mechanisms in vivo, compared to rapamycin (RAP).
Thirty-two rats were randomly divided into 4 groups: the Sham group, the Vehicle group, the HKC group and the RAP group. The early DN rat models were induced by unilateral nephrectomy combined with intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin, and administered with HKC suspension or RAP suspension or vehicle after modeling for 4 weeks. Changes in the incipient renal lesions-related parameters in urine and blood were analyzed, respectively. Renal interstitial tissues were isolated for histomorphometry, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting at sacrifice.
For the early DN rat models, HKC at the suitable dose of 2 g/kg/day ameliorated the general condition and biochemical parameters partially including kidney weight (KW), urinary albumin (UAlb), serum creatinine (Scr) and serum albumin (Alb), attenuated renal tubular EMT significantly and inhibited the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome in the kidneys obviously, which was superior to RAP generally. In addition to these, HKC also suppressed TLR4/NF-κB signaling in the kidneys of the DN model rats accurately, which was different from RAP specifically.
The results of this study further indicated that HKC, different from RAP, can alleviate renal tubular EMT in the DN model rats, likely by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and TLR4/NF-κB signaling in the kidneys. Our findings thus provide the more accurate information in vivo about a clinical value of HKC, a traditional anti-inflammatory phytomedicine, in the treatment of the early DN patients.