Enhanced advanced glycosylation end product (AGE) formation has been shown to participate in the patho-genesis of diabetes-induced glomerular injury by mediating the increased extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and altered cell growth and turnover leading to mesangial expansion. These effects could be exerted via an AGE-receptor-mediated upregulation of growth factors, such as the IGFs and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). We tested this hypothesis in human and rat mesangial cells grown on nonglycated or native bovine serum albumin (BSA), glycated BSA with AGE formation (BSA-AGE), or glycated BSA in which AGE formation was prevented by the use of aminoguanidine (BSA-AM), in the presence or absence of an antibody, α-p60, directed against the p60/OST protein named AGE-receptor 1 (AGE-R1), or normal control (pre-immune) serum. The mRNA and/or protein levels of IGF-I, IGF-II, IGF receptors, IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs), TGF-β1 and the ECM components fibronectin, laminin, and collagen IV were measured, together with cell proliferation. Both human and rat mesangial cells grown on BSA-AGE showed increased IGF-I and total and bioac-tive TGF-β medium levels and enhanced IGF-I, IGF-II, and TGF-β1 gene expression, compared with cells grown on BSA, whereas total IGFBP and IGFBP-3 medium content, IGF receptor density and affinity, and IGF-I receptor transcripts were unchanged. Moreover, cells grown on BSA-AGE showed increased ECM protein and mRNA levels versus cells cultured on BSA, whereas cell proliferation was unchanged in human mesangial cells and slightly reduced in rat mesangial cells. Growing cells on BSA-AM did not affect any of the measured parameters. Co-incubation of BSA-AGE with anti-AGE-R1, but not with pre-immune serum, prevented AGE-induced increases in IGF-I, TGF-β1, and ECM production or gene expression; anti-AGE-R1 also reduced growth factor and matrix synthesis in cells grown on BSA. These results demonstrate that mesangial IGF and TGF-β1 synthesis is upregulated by AGE-modified proteins through an AGE-receptor-mediated mechanism. The parallelism with increased ECM production raises the speculation that the enhanced synthesis of these growth factors resulting from advanced nonen-zymatic glycation participates in the pathogenesis of hyperglycemia-induced mesangial expansion.

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