Arginase-2 Mediates Diabetic Renal Injury

  1. Alaa S. Awad2
  1. 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  3. 3Department of Comparative Medicine, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  4. 4Department of Pathology, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania
  1. Corresponding author: Alaa S. Awad, asa17{at}


OBJECTIVE To determine 1) whether renal arginase activity or expression is increased in diabetes and 2) whether arginase plays a role in development of diabetic nephropathy (DN).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The impact of arginase activity and expression on renal damage was evaluated in spontaneously diabetic Ins2Akita mice and in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic Dilute Brown Agouti (DBA) and arginase-2–deficient mice (Arg2−/−).

RESULTS Pharmacological blockade or genetic deficiency of arginase-2 conferred kidney protection in Ins2Akita mice or STZ-induced diabetic renal injury. Blocking arginases using S-(2-boronoethyl)-l-cysteine for 9 weeks in Ins2Akita mice or 6 weeks in STZ-induced diabetic DBA mice significantly attenuated albuminuria, the increase in blood urea nitrogen, histopathological changes, and kidney macrophage recruitment compared with vehicle-treated Ins2Akita mice. Furthermore, kidney arginase-2 expression increased in Ins2Akita mice compared with control. In contrast, arginase-1 expression was undetectable in kidneys under normal or diabetes conditions. Arg2−/− mice mimicked arginase blockade by reducing albuminuria after 6 and 18 weeks of STZ-induced diabetes. In wild-type mice, kidney arginase activity increased significantly after 6 and 18 weeks of STZ-induced diabetes but remained very low in STZ-diabetic Arg2−/− mice. The increase in kidney arginase activity was associated with a reduction in renal medullary blood flow in wild-type mice after 6 weeks of STZ-induced diabetes, an effect significantly attenuated in diabetic Arg2−/− mice.

CONCLUSIONS These findings indicate that arginase-2 plays a major role in induction of diabetic renal injury and that blocking arginase-2 activity or expression could be a novel therapeutic approach for treatment of DN.

  • Received June 29, 2011.
  • Accepted August 12, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 60 no. 11 3015-3022
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