Matrix metalloproteinase-9 deficiency attenuates diabetic nephropathy by modulation of podocyte functions and dedifferentiation

Szu Yuan Li, Po Hsun Huang*, An Hang Yang, Der Cherng Tarng, Wu Chang Yang, Chih Ching Lin, Jaw Wen Chen, Geert Schmid-Schönbein, Shing Jong Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Diabetic nephropathy is characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix protein and disruption of the glomerular filtration barrier. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) affect the breakdown and turnover of extracellular matrix protein, suggesting that altered expression of MMPs may contribute to diabetic nephropathy. Here we used an MMP-9 gene knockout mouse model, with in vitro experiments and clinical samples, to determine the possible role of MMP-9 in diabetic nephropathy. After 6 months of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, mice developed markedly increased albuminuria, glomerular and kidney hypertrophy, and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane. Gelatin zymographic analysis and western blotting showed that there was enhanced MMP-9 protein production and activity in the glomeruli. However, MMP-9 knockout in diabetic mice significantly attenuated these nephropathy changes. In cultured podocytes, various cytokines related to diabetic nephropathy including TGF-β1, TNF-α, and VEGF stimulated MMP-9 secretion. Overexpression of endogenous MMP-9 induced podocyte dedifferentiation. MMP-9 also interrupted podocyte cell integrity, promoted podocyte monolayer permeability to albumin, and extracellular matrix protein synthesis. In diabetic patients, the upregulation of urinary MMP-9 concentrations occurred earlier than the onset of microalbuminuria. Thus, MMP-9 seems to play a role in the development of diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-369
Number of pages12
JournalKidney International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • diabetes mellitus
  • diabetic nephropathy
  • matrix metalloproteinases
  • podocyte


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