Jha J, Dai A1, Coughlan M1, Cooper M1, Xia Y3, Jandeleit-Dahm K1

1Department of Diabetes, Central Clinical School, Monash University, , Australia, 2Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, , Australia, 3Nanyang Technological University, , Singapore

Background: Enhanced level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in diabetes is considered a major contributor in aggravating renal injury. We aimed to evaluate the the role of pro-oxidant enzyme NOX5 and associated redox-sensitive pathways in diabetic kidney disease (DKD).

Methods: We examined the expression of NOX5 and associated redox-sensitive factors including NOX4, thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), a transcription factor, EGR1 (early growth response 1) and a protein kinase, PKC-α as well as ROS production in human kidney biopsies and in human renal cell lines as well as in human kidney organoids. We also assessed the effect of NOX5 expression independent of NOX4 in Nox5 transgenic mice in the presence or absence of diabetes.

Results: We identified increased expression of renal NOX5 in diabetic patients in association with upregulation of ROS-sensitive factors including EGR-1, PKC-α and TXNIP. We also observed upregulation of human NOX5 and TXNIP in renal organoids exposed to high glucose. Silencing of Nox5 attenuated high glucose induced gene expression of markers of fibrosis and inflammation as well as downregulation of EGR-1, PKC-α and TXNIP. Our data also suggest that Nox5 is upstream of Nox4 and that Nox5 inhibition also downregulates Nox4, but not vice versa. In vivo, overexpression of Nox5 independent of NOX4 pathways demonstrated an increase in albuminuria, renal fibrosis and inflammation in association with upregulation of EGR-1, PKC-α and TXNIP and enhanced ROS production in comparison to diabetic mice not expressing Nox5.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that NOX5 plays a key pathogenic role in DKD, thereby providing impetus for the development of NOX5 specific inhibitor to combat DKD.


Dr. Jha is an early career researcher at Department of Diabetes, Monash University. His expertise is in identifying the novel targets in diabetic kidney disease, particularly, the pathogenic role of oxidative stress in renal fibrosis and inflammation in diabetes.

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