Hyperglycemia induces toll like receptor 4 expression and activity in mouse mesangial cells: Relevance to diabetic nephropathy

Harmeet Kaur, Alexander Chien, Ishwarlal Jialal

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86 Scopus citations


Diabetes is a proinflammatory state. The pattern recognition receptors, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), are increased in diabetic patients and have been suggested to play a role in diabetic nephropathy (DN). Progression of DN involves altered mesangial cell (MC) function with an expansion of the mesangial matrix. There is a paucity of data examining the role of TLR and its expression in MC. We hypothesize the expression of TLRs in the mesangium might be an important factor contributing to mesangium expansion and nephropathy. Thus we evaluated the effect of high glucose on TLR2 and TLR4 expression in mouse mesangial cells (MMC) in vitro. Exposure of MMC to 25 mM glucose for 24 h resulted in increased TLR4 mRNA and cell surface receptor expression compared with 5.5 mM glucose (P < 0.05). Interestingly, we were not able to detect expression of TLR2 in MMC. Furthermore, expression of a TLR4 downstream signaling cascade including myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), and Toll interleukin receptor domain containing adaptor inducing interferon-β (TRIF)-related adaptor molecule (TRAM) were significantly increased in cells exposed to 25 mM glucose (P < 0.05). There was also a significant increase in NF-κB activation along with increased secretion of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1. Levels of transforming growth factor-(3 were also significantly increased in the presence of 25 mM glucose (P < 0.05). Collectively, these data suggest that hyperglycemia activates TLR4 expression and activity in MC and could contribute to DN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012


  • Inflammation
  • Mesangial expansion
  • Pattern recognition receptors
  • Renal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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