Diabetic Nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Preclinical and experimental studies show that PDE5 inhibitors (PDE5is) exert protective effects in DN improving perivascular inflammation. Using a mouse model of diabetic kidney injury we investigated the protective proprieties of PDE5is on renal hemodynamics and the molecular mechanisms involved. PDE5i treatment prevented the development of DN-related hypertension (P < 0.001), the increase of urine albumin creatinine ratio (P < 0.01), the fall in glomerular filtration rate (P < 0.001), and improved renal resistive index (P < 0.001) and kidney microcirculation. Moreover PDE5i attenuated the rise of nephropathy biomarkers, soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor, suPAR and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, NGAL. In treated animals, blood vessel perfusion was improved and vascular leakage reduced, suggesting preserved renal endothelium integrity, as confirmed by higher capillary density, number of CD31 + cells and pericyte coverage. Analysis of the mechanisms involved revealed the induction of bone morphogenetic protein-7 (BMP7) expression, a critical regulator of angiogenesis and kidney homeostasis, through a PDE5i-dependent downregulation of miR-22. In conclusion PDE5i slows the progression of DN in mice, improving hemodynamic parameters and vessel integrity. Regulation of miR-22/BMP7, an unknown mechanism of PDE5is in nephrovascular protection, might represent a novel therapeutic option for treatment of diabetic complications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas