Nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice develop glomerulosclerosis shortly after the onset of diabetes. We showed that mesangial cells (MCs) from diabetic mice exhibited a stable phenotypic switch, consisting of both increased IGF-1 synthesis and proliferation (Elliot SJ, Striker LJ, Hattori M, Yang CW, He CJ, Peten EP, Striker GE: Mesangial cells from diabetic NOD mice constitutively secrete increased amounts of insulin-like growth factor-I. Endocrinology 133:1783-1788, 1993). Because the extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation in diabetic glomerulosclerosis may be partly due to decreased degradation, we examined the effect of excess IGF-1 on collagen turnover and the activity of metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMPs) in diabetic and nondiabetic NOD-MC. Total collagen degradation was reduced by 58 +/- 18% in diabetic NOD-MCs, which correlated with a constitutive decrease in MMP-2 activity and mRNA levels, and nearly undetectable MMP-9 activity and mRNA. TIMP levels were slightly decreased in diabetic NOD-MC. The addition of recombinant IGF-1 to nondiabetic NOD-MC resulted in a decrease in MMP-2 and TIMP activity. Furthermore, treatment of diabetic NOD-MC with a neutralizing antibody against IGF-1 increased the latent form, and restored the active form, of MMP-2. In conclusion, the excessive production of IGF-1 contributes to the altered ECM turnover in diabetic NOD-MC, largely through a reduction of MMP-2 activity. These data suggest that IGF-1 could be a major contributor to the development of diabetic glomerulosclerosis.

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