Curcumin reinforces MiR-29a expression, reducing mesangial fibrosis in a model of diabetic fibrotic kidney via modulation of CB1R signaling

Yung Chien Hsu, Pey Jium Chang, Shih Jiun Lin, Chia Ching Liaw, Ya Hsueh Shih, Lee Wen Chen*, Chun Liang Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

3 Scopus citations


Renal fibrosis is a hallmark event in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. Considerable evidence now supports that multiple intracellular signaling pathways are critically involved in renal fibrosis. Previously, our studies have shown that dysregulation of the MicroRNA 29a (miR-29a)- or cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R)-mediated signaling cascade in renal glomeruli substantially contributes to diabetic renal fibrosis. The purpose of the current study was to explore whether curcumin, a natural polyphenolic compound with potential renoprotective activity, could modulate the miR-29a/CB1R signaling axis to attenuate renal fibrosis. In this study, rat renal mesangial cells cultured in high glucose (HG) and the diabetic db/db mice were used as an in vitro and in vivo model of diabetes, respectively. Our results showed that in rat renal mesangial cells, curcumin treatment substantially counteracted HG-induced changes in the expressions of miR-29a, CB1R, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR- ), and a profibrotic marker type IV collagen (collagen IV), as assessed by quantitative Real-Time Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Furthermore, in the db/db mouse model, administration of curcumin markedly lowered urinary albumin excretion, and reduced deposition of extracellular matrices including collagen IV in renal tissues. Importantly, quantitative RT-PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemical analysis revealed that curcumin treatment consistently blocked diabetes-induced downregulation of miR- 29a and upregulation of CB1R in renal glomeruli. Collectively, our study provides novel evidence showing that curcumin can rescue the dysregulated miR-29a/CB1R signaling pathway in glomerular mesangium to ameliorate diabetic renal fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number694
Issue number4
StatePublished - 04 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cannabinoid receptor type 1
  • Curcumin
  • Mesangial fibrosis
  • MicroRNA-29a


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