American journal of physiology. Renal physiology

AMP-activated protein kinase inhibits TGF-β-, angiotensin II-, aldosterone-, high glucose-, and albumin-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

PMID 23324179


The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a novel mechanism that promotes renal fibrosis. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), angiotensin II, aldosterone, high glucose, and urinary albumin are well-known causes of EMT and renal fibrosis. We examined whether and how activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) suppressed EMT induced by the above agents in tubular epithelial cells. All experiments were performed using HK-2 cells. Protein expression was measured by Western blot analysis. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were analyzed by flow cytometry. Exposure of tubular cells to TGF-β (10 ng/ml), angiotensin II (1 μM), aldosterone (100 nM), high glucose (30 mM), and albumin (5 mg/ml) for 5 days induced EMT, as shown by upregulation of α-smooth muscle actin and downregulation of E-cadherin. ROS and NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) expression were increased, and antioxidants such as tiron and N-acetylcysteine inhibited EMT induction. Metformin (the best known clinical activator of AMPK) suppressed EMT induction through inhibition of ROS via induction of heme oxygenase-1 and endogenous antioxidant thioredoxin. An AMPK inhibitor (compound C) and AMPK small interfering RNA blocked the effect of metformin, and another AMPK activator [5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1β riboside (AICAR)] exerted the same effects as metformin. In conclusion, AMPK activation might be beneficial in attenuating the tubulointerstitial fibrosis induced by TGF-β, angiotensin II, aldosterone, high glucose, and urinary albumin.

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5-Amino-4-imidazolecarboxamide, 95%