Podocyte-specific overexpression of human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 attenuates diabetic nephropathy in mice

Renisha Nadarajah, Rosangela Milagres, Marc Dilauro, Alex Gutsol, Fengxia Xiao, Joseph Zimpelmann, Chris Kennedy, Jan Wysocki, Daniel Batlle, Kevin D. Burns*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) degrades angiotensin II to angiotensin-(1-7) and is expressed in podocytes. Here we overexpressed ACE2 in podocytes in experimental diabetic nephropathy using transgenic methods where a nephrin promoter drove the expression of human ACE2. Glomeruli from these mice had significantly increased mRNA, protein, and activity of ACE2 compared to wild-type mice. Male mice were treated with streptozotocin to induce diabetes. After 16 weeks, there was no significant difference in plasma glucose levels between wild-type and transgenic diabetic mice. Urinary albumin was significantly increased in wild-type diabetic mice at 4 weeks, whereas albuminuria in transgenic diabetic mice did not differ from wild-type nondiabetic mice. However, this effect was transient and by 16 weeks both transgenic and nontransgenic diabetic mice had similar rates of proteinuria. Compared to wild-type diabetic mice, transgenic diabetic mice had an attenuated increase in mesangial area, decreased glomerular area, and a blunted decrease in nephrin expression. Podocyte numbers decreased in wild-type diabetic mice at 16 weeks, but were unaffected in transgenic diabetic mice. At 8 weeks, kidney cortical expression of transforming growth factor-β1 was significantly inhibited in transgenic diabetic mice as compared to wild-type diabetic mice. Thus, the podocyte-specific overexpression of human ACE2 transiently attenuates the development of diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-303
Number of pages12
JournalKidney international
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012


  • ACE2
  • albuminuria
  • angiotensin
  • apoptosis
  • diabetes
  • podocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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