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    To investigate the effect of vitamin D/vitamin D receptor (VDR)/Atg16L1 signaling on podocyte autophagy and survival in diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic rat models were induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ) (60 mg/kg) and treated with and without gavage of 0.1 μg/kg/d active vitamin D3 (aVitD3; 1,25- OH vitamin D3) and kidney tissues assessed by histopathology and immunohistochemistry. The murine podocyte cell line MPC-5 was cultured under hyperglycemic conditions in the absence or presence of 100 nmol/L calcitriol to investigate podocyte injury and autophagy. Cell survival rates were analyzed using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assays and the numbers of autophagosomes were determined after transduction with the mRFP-GFP-LC3 autophagy reporter construct. The expression of autophagy-related proteins (LC3-II, beclin-1, Atg16L1) and podocyte-related proteins (nephrin, podocin, synaptopodin, and desmin) was determined by Western blotting. VDR expression and autophagy were decreased in diabetic nephropathy. Calcitriol treatment repressed renal injury in rat diabetic kidneys and reduced high glucose-induced damage to cultured podocytes. Mechanistically, Atg16L1 was identified as a functional target of VDR, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of VDR and Atg16L1 blocked the protective effects of aVitD3 against podocyte damage. Autophagy protects podocytes from damage in DN and is modulated by VitD3/VDR signaling and downstream regulation of Atg16L1 expression.


    Lang Shi, Chao Xiao, Yafei Zhang, Yao Xia, Hongchu Zha, Jiefu Zhu, Zhixia Song. Vitamin D/vitamin D receptor/Atg16L1 axis maintains podocyte autophagy and survival in diabetic kidney disease. Renal failure. 2022 Dec;44(1):694-705

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    PMID: 35469547

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