Visfatin is upregulated in type-2 diabetic rats and targets renal cells

Young Sun Kang, Hye Kyoung Song, Mi Hwa Lee, Gang Jee Ko, Jee Young Han, Sang Youb Han, Kum Hyun Han, Hyoung Kyu Kim, Dae Ryong Cha

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    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Visfatin (also known as pre-B cell colony-enhancing factor) is a newly discovered adipocytokine that is preferentially produced by visceral fat and regulated by cytokines promoting insulin resistance. Here we determined its renal synthesis and physiology in a genetic model of type 2 diabetes in rats. These rats had higher levels of visfatin synthesis in both glomeruli and tubulointerstitium compared to control rats. Plasma visfatin levels were significantly increased in the early stages of diabetic nephropathy and positively correlated with body weight, fasting plasma glucose, and microalbuminuria. Interestingly, visfatin synthesis was found to occur in podocytes and proximal tubular cells, as well as in adipocytes in vitro. Further, in both renal cells, visfatin synthesis was significantly increased by high glucose in the media but not by angiotensin II. Additionally, visfatin treatment induced rapid uptake of glucose and was associated with increased translocation of GLUT-1 to the cellular membrane of both renal cell types. Furthermore, visfatin induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor, activated downstream insulin signaling pathways such as Erk-1, Akt, and p38 MAPK, and markedly increased the levels of TGFΒ1, PAI-1, type I collagen, and MCP-1 in both renal cells. Thus, our results suggest that visfatin is produced by renal cells and has an important paracrine role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-181
    Number of pages12
    JournalKidney International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    We thank Professor Eric G. Neilson for the generous gift of the mouse MCT cell line, and thank Tokushima Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. for provision of OLETF rats. This work was supported by the Brain Korea 21 project and a Korea University grant.


    • diabetic nephropathy
    • glucose transporter-1
    • type-2 diabetic rats
    • visfatin

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nephrology


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