Prevention of Incipient Diabetic Nephropathy by High-Dose Thiamine and Benfotiamine

  1. Roya Babaei-Jadidi,
  2. Nikolaos Karachalias,
  3. Naila Ahmed,
  4. Sinan Battah and
  5. Paul J. Thornalley
  1. From the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Central Campus, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, U.K
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Paul J. Thornalley, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Central Campus, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, U.K. E-mail: thorp{at}essex.ac.uk

Abstract

Accumulation of triosephosphates arising from high cytosolic glucose concentrations in hyperglycemia is the trigger for biochemical dysfunction leading to the development of diabetic nephropathy—a common complication of diabetes associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Here we report that stimulation of the reductive pentosephosphate pathway by high-dose therapy with thiamine and the thiamine monophosphate derivative benfotiamine countered the accumulation of triosephosphates in experimental diabetes and inhibited the development of incipient nephropathy. High-dose thiamine and benfotiamine therapy increased transketolase expression in renal glomeruli, increased the conversion of triosephosphates to ribose-5-phosphate, and strongly inhibited the development of microalbuminuria. This was associated with decreased activation of protein kinase C and decreased protein glycation and oxidative stress—three major pathways of biochemical dysfunction in hyperglycemia. Benfotiamine also inhibited diabetes-induced hyperfiltration. This was achieved without change in elevated plasma glucose concentration and glycated hemoglobin in the diabetic state. High-dose thiamine and benfotiamine therapy is a potential novel strategy for the prevention of clinical diabetic nephropathy.

Footnotes

    • Accepted May 8, 2003.
    • Received March 21, 2003.
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