American journal of translational research

Low molecular weight fucoidan ameliorates diabetic nephropathy via inhibiting epithelial-mesenchymal transition and fibrotic processes.

PMID 26550455


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is one of the most serious microvascular complications of diabetes and may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and chronic renal failure. The aim of this study was to determine whether low-molecular-weight fucoidan (LMWF) can reduce harmful transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-mediated renal fibrosis in DN using in vitro and in vivo experimental models. The experimental results showed that LMWF significantly reversed TGF-β1-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and dose-dependently inhibited accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, including connective tissue growth factor and fibronectin. It was found that LMWF significantly reduced blood urea nitrogen and blood creatinine in both type 1 and type 2 diabetic rat models. H&E, PAS and Masson's trichrome staining of kidney tissue showed LMWF significantly reduced renal interstitial fibrosis. Treatment with LMWF significantly increased E-cadherin expression and reduced α-SMA, CTGF and fibronectin expression in both type 1 and type 2 diabetic models. LMWF also decreased the phosphorylation of Akt, ERK1/2, p38 and Smad3 in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that LMWF may protect kidney from dysfunction and fibrogenesis by inhibiting TGF-β pathway and have the potential benefit to slow down the progression of DN.