Icariin ameliorates streptozocin-induced diabetic nephropathy through suppressing the TLR4/NF-κB signal pathway†
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the complex and severe complications of diabetes mellitus (DM). Icariin (ICA) is a flavonoid extracted from the leaves and stems of Herba epimedii with a wide range of pharmacological effects, such as anti-osteoporosis, anti-fibrosis, anti-aging, anti-inflammation and antioxidation. The purpose of our study was to explore the renal protective effect of ICA on DN in mice and its possible mechanisms. ICR mice were exposed to STZ-induced DN. The kidney organ coefficient of mice was computed. 24 h UP in urine was measured. Serum FBG, Cr and BUN were detected. The content of MDA and the activities of SOD, CAT and GSH-Px in renal tissues were tested. HE staining, PAS staining, PASM staining and transmission electron microscopy were used to observe renal pathological changes. Furthermore, TLR4, p-NF-κB p65, TNF-α and IL-6 of renal tissues were assayed by immunohistochemistry and western blotting. Our results indicated that ICA observably optimized the renal organ coefficient, reduced the level of 24 h UP in urine, decreased the content of Cr, BUN in serum and MDA in renal tissues, promoted the activities of SOD, CAT and GSH-Px in renal tissues, and ameliorated pathological lesions of kidneys noticeably. Besides, ICA inhibited the expressions of TLR4, p-NF-κB p65, TNF-α and IL-6 remarkably in renal tissues. ICA, which might lighten the renal inflammatory response by suppressing the TLR4/NF-κB signal pathway, played a protective role in kidneys of STZ-induced DN mice.