MTORC2 Signaling Regulates Nox4-Induced Podocyte Depletion in Diabetes

Stéphanie Eid, Suzan Boutary, Kawthar Braych, Ramzi Sabra, Charbel Massaad, Ahmed Hamdy, Awad Rashid, Sarah Moodad, Karen Block, Yves Gorin, Hanna E. Abboud, Assaad A. Eid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Aim: Podocyte apoptosis is a critical mechanism for excessive loss of urinary albumin that eventuates in kidney fibrosis. Oxidative stress plays a critical role in hyperglycemia-induced glomerular injury. We explored the hypothesis that mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) mediates podocyte injury in diabetes. Results: High glucose (HG)-induced podocyte injury reflected by alterations in the slit diaphragm protein podocin and podocyte depletion/apoptosis. This was paralleled by activation of the Rictor/mTORC2/Akt pathway. HG also increased the levels of Nox4 and NADPH oxidase activity. Inhibition of mTORC2 using small interfering RNA (siRNA)-targeting Rictor in vitro decreased HG-induced Nox1 and Nox4, NADPH oxidase activity, restored podocin levels, and reduced podocyte depletion/apoptosis. Inhibition of mTORC2 had no effect on mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activation, described by our group to be increased in diabetes, suggesting that the mTORC2 activation by HG could mediate podocyte injury independently of mTORC1. In isolated glomeruli of OVE26 mice, there was a similar activation of the Rictor/mTORC2/Akt signaling pathway with increase in Nox4 and NADPH oxidase activity. Inhibition of mTORC2 using antisense oligonucleotides targeting Rictor restored podocin levels, reduced podocyte depletion/apoptosis, and attenuated glomerular injury and albuminuria. Innovation: Our data provide evidence for a novel function of mTORC2 in NADPH oxidase-derived reactive oxygen species generation and podocyte apoptosis that contributes to urinary albumin excretion in type 1 diabetes. Conclusion: mTORC2 and/or NADPH oxidase inhibition may represent a therapeutic modality for diabetic kidney disease. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 25, 703-719.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-719
Number of pages17
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • MTORC2
  • NADPH oxidases
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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