Diabetes decreases transcription of the albumin gene. The role of hyperglycemia in mediating this suppression of albumin gene activity is unclear. To study the effect of glucose in vivo, we treated diabetic rats with phlorizin or vanadate, two agents that ameliorate hyperglycemia without increasing the levels of circulating insulin. When glucose was normalized in diabetic rats with either agent, the hepatic levels of albumin mRNA became indistinguishable from those in nondiabetic animals. In light of our previous observation that diabetes decreases the abundance of hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 (HNF1), the predominant factor increasing albumin gene transcription, we wondered whether glucose normalization in diabetes would alter HNF1. Both the levels and DNA binding activity of HNF1 were restored to control values when phlorizin or vanadate was administered to diabetic rats. These findings suggest that hyperglycemia is integrally involved in mediating the suppression of albumin gene expression in diabetes. The effect of hyperglycemia on HNF1 suggests that glucose affects albumin expression at the level of transcription.

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