Overfeeding amino acids (AAs) increases cellular exposure to advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), a mechanism for protein intake to worsen diabetic kidney disease (DKD). This study assessed receptor for AGE (RAGE)-mediated apoptosis and inflammation in glomerular cells exposed to metabolic stressors characteristic of high-protein diets and/or diabetes in vitro with proof-of-concept appraisal in vivo.Methods
Mouse podocytes and mesangial cells were cultured under control and metabolic stressor conditions: (i) no addition; (ii) increased AAs (4–6-fold >control); (iii) high glucose (HG, 30.5 mM); (iv) AA/HG combination; (v) AGE-bovine serum albumin (AGE-BSA, 300 µg/mL); (vi) BSA (300 µg/mL). RAGE was inhibited by blocking antibody. Diabetic (streptozotocin) and nondiabetic mice (C57BL/6J) consumed diets with protein calories of 20 or 40% (high) for 20 weeks. People with DKD and controls provided 24-h urine samples.Results
In podocytes and mesangial cells, apoptosis (caspase 3/7 activity and TUNEL) increased in all metabolic stressor conditions. Both inflammatory mediator expression (real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction: serum amyloid A, caspase-4, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1) and RAGE (immunostaining) also increased. RAGE inhibition prevented apoptosis and inflammation in podocytes. Among mice fed high protein, podocyte number (WT-1 immunostaining) decreased in the diabetic group, and only these diabetic mice developed albuminuria. Protein intake (urea nitrogen) correlated with AGE excretion (carboxymethyllysine) in people with DKD and controls.Conclusions
High-protein diet and/or diabetes-like conditions increased glomerular cell death and inflammation, responses mediated by RAGEs in podocytes. The concept that high-protein diets exacerbate early indicators of DKD is supported by data from mice and people.