TRB3 is stimulated in diabetic kidneys, regulated by the ER stress marker CHOP, and is a suppressor of podocyte MCP-1

Elizabeth Morse, Jana Schroth, Ng Hyun You, Donald P. Pizzo, Shinichi Okada, Satish RamachandraRao, Volker Vallon, Kumar Sharma, Robyn Cunard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The prevalence of diabetic nephropathy continues to rise, highlighting the importance of investigating and discovering novel treatment strategies. TRB3 is a kinase-like molecule that modifies cellular survival and metabolism and interferes with signal transduction pathways. Herein, we report that TRB3 expression is increased in the kidneys of type 1 and type 2 diabetic mice. TRB3 is expressed in conditionally immortalized podocytes; however, it is not stimulated by elevated glucose. The diabetic milieu is associated with increased oxidative stress and circulating free fatty acids (FFA). We show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as H2O2 and superoxide anion (via the xanthine/xanthine oxidase reaction) as well as the FFA palmitate augment TRB3 expression in podocytes. C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) is a transcription factor that is associated with the endoplasmic reticulum stress response. CHOP expression increases in diabetic mouse kidneys and in podocytes treated with ROS and FFA. In podocytes, transfection of CHOP increases TRB3 expression, and ROS augment recruitment of CHOP to the proximal TRB3 promoter. MCP-1/CCL2 is a chemokine that contributes to the inflammatory injury associated with diabetic nephropathy. In these studies, we demonstrate that TRB3 can inhibit basal and stimulated podocyte production of MCP-1. In summary, enhanced ROS and/or FFA associated with the diabetic milieu induce podocyte CHOP and TRB3 expression. Because TRB3 inhibits MCP-1, manipulation of TRB3 expression could provide a novel therapeutic approach in diabetic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F965-F972
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Free fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Physiology


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