Hyperglycemia is the most important risk factor in the progression of renal fibrosis in diabetic kidney. Based on previous studies, β-casomorphin-7 may exert anti-fibrotic activities in diabetic rats. However, the role of β-casomorphin-7 in the pathogenesis of renal tubulointerstitial fibrosis remains unclear. Thus, this study was designed to investigate the protective effect of β-casomorphin-7 on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of NRK-52E cells treated under hyperglycemic condition and to explore the possible mechanism.
NRK-52E cells were cultured in high glucose (30 mM) for 3 days. Different concentrations of β-casomorphin-7, naloxone (antagonist of opioid receptor) and losartan (antagonist of angiotensin II type I receptor) were added in the culture. Expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), E-cadherin, vimentin and cytokeratin19 mRNA were determined by real-time PCR. Protein levels of E-cadherin and α-SMA were analyzed by Western blotting. The concentrations of angiotensin (Ang) II and transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) in the culture medium were determined.
High glucose-induced up-regulation of vimentin mRNA and α-SMA mRNA and protein were significantly inhibited by β-casomorphin-7. On the contrary, high glucose-induced down-regulation of cytokeratin19 mRNA and E-cad mRNA and protein was significantly reversed by β-casomorphin-7. β-casomorphin-7 significantly alleviate high glucose induced increase of AngII and TGF-β1 in the culture. Moreover, losartan significantly attenuated the expression of TGF-β1 and EMT of NRK-52E cells treated under hyperglycemic condition. But naloxone did not affect the EMT of NRK-52E cells treated by high glucose and β-casomorphin-7.
We demonstrate that β-casomorphin-7 has the potential to inhibit high glucose-induced renal proximal tubular EMT partly by modulating AngII-TGF-β1 pathway, but not by opioid receptor.