Cannabinoid receptor 1 blockade ameliorates albuminuria in experimental diabetic nephropathy

Federica Barutta, Alessandro Corbelli, Raffaella Mastrocola, Roberto Gambino, Vincenzo Di Marzo, Silvia Pinach, Maria Pia Rastaldi, Paolo Cavallo Perin, Gabriella Gruden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE-Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is localized in the central nervous system and in peripheral tissues involved in energy metabolism control. However, CB1 receptors are also expressed at low level within the glomeruli, and the aim of this study was to investigate their potential relevance in the pathogenesis of proteinuria in experimental type 1 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-Streptozotocininduced diabetic mice were treated with N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,3-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole- 3-carboxamide (AM251), a selective CB1-receptor antagonist, at the dosage of 1 mg · kg-1 · day-1 via intraperitoneal injection for 14 weeks. Urinary albumin excretion was measured by enzymelinked immunosorbent assay. CB1 receptor expression was studied by immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and real-time PCR. Expression of nephrin, podocin, synaptopodin, and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) was assessed by immunofluorescence and real-time PCR. Fibronectin, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) mRNA levels were quantitated by real-time PCR. RESULTS-In diabetic mice, the CB1 receptor was overexpressed within the glomeruli, predominantly by glomerular podocytes. Blockade of the CB1 receptor did not affect body weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure levels in either diabetic or control mice. Albuminuria was increased in diabetic mice compared with control animals and was significantly ameliorated by treatment with AM251. Furthermore, CB1 blockade completely prevented diabetes-induced downregulation of nephrin, podocin, and ZO-1. By contrast overexpression of fibronectin, TGF-β1, and CTGF in renal cortex of diabetic mice was unaltered by AM251 administration. CONCLUSIONS-In experimental type 1 diabetes, the CB1 receptor is overexpressed by glomerular podocytes, and blockade of the CB1 receptor ameliorates albuminuria possibly via prevention of nephrin, podocin, and ZO-1 loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1054
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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