Enhancing kidney DDAH-1 expression by adenovirus delivery reduces ADMA and ameliorates diabetic nephropathy

Michael D. Wetzel, Ting Gao, Kristen Stanley, Timothy K. Cooper, Sidney M. Morris, Alaa S. Awad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by reduced bioavailability of nitric oxide and increased oxidative stress, is a hallmark characteristic in diabetes and diabetic nephropathy (DN). High levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) are observed in several diseases including DN and are a strong prognostic marker for cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes and end-stage renal disease. ADMA, an endogenous endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3) inhibitor, is selectively metabolized by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Low DDAH levels have been associated with cardiac and renal dysfunction, but its effects on DN are unknown. We hypothesized that enhanced renal DDAH-1 expression would improve DN by reducing ADMA and restoring NOS3 levels. DBA/2J mice injected with multiple low doses of vehicle or streptozotocin were subsequently injected intrarenally with adenovirus expressing DDAH-1 (Ad-h-DDAH-1) or vector control [Ad-green fluorescent protein (GFP)], and mice were followed for 6 wk. Diabetes was associated with increased kidney ADMA and reduced kidney DDAH activity and DDAH-1 expression but had no effect on kidney DDAH-2 expression. Ad-GFPtreated diabetic mice showed significant increases in albuminuria, histological changes, glomerular macrophage recruitment, inflammatory cytokine and fibrotic markers, kidney ADMA levels, and urinary thiobarbituric acid reactive substances excretion as an indicator of oxidative stress, along with a significant reduction in kidney DDAH activity and kidney NOS3 mRNA compared with normal mice. In contrast, Ad-h-DDAH-1 treatment of diabetic mice reversed these effects. These data indicate, for the first time, that DDAH-1 mediates renal tissue protection in DN via the ADMA-NOS3-interaction. Enhanced renal DDAH-1 activity could be a novel therapeutic tool for treating patients with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F509-F517
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Asymmetric dimethylarginine
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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