Decreased soluble guanylate cyclase activity and cGMP levels in diabetic kidneys were shown to influence the progression of nephropathy. The regulatory effects of soluble guanylate cyclase activators on renal signaling pathways are still unknown, we therefore investigated the renal molecular effects of the soluble guanylate cyclase activator cinaciguat in type-1 diabetic (T1DM) rats. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 2 groups after induction of T1DM with 60 mg/kg streptozotocin: DM, untreated (DM, n = 8) and 2) DM + cinaciguat (10 mg/kg per os daily, DM-Cin, n = 8). Non-diabetic untreated and cinaciguat treated rats served as controls (Co (n = 10) and Co-Cin (n = 10), respectively). Rats were treated for eight weeks, when renal functional and molecular analyses were performed. Cinaciguat attenuated the diabetes induced proteinuria, glomerulosclerosis and renal collagen-IV expression accompanied by 50% reduction of TIMP-1 expression. Cinaciguat treatment restored the glomerular cGMP content and soluble guanylate cyclase expression, and ameliorated the glomerular apoptosis (TUNEL positive cell number) and podocyte injury. These effects were accompanied by significantly reduced TGF-ß overexpression and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in cinaciguat treated diabetic kidneys. We conclude that the soluble guanylate cyclase activator cinaciguat ameliorated diabetes induced glomerular damage, apoptosis, podocyte injury and TIMP-1 overexpression by suppressing TGF-ß and ERK1/2 signaling.
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