Glomerular barrier dysfunction in glomerulosclerosis-resistant Milan rats with experimental diabetes: The role of renal haemodynamics

G. Pugliese, C. Ricci, C. Iacobini, S. Menini, P. Fioretto, M. Ferrandi, L. A. Giardino, S. Armelloni, D. Mattinzoli, M. P. Rastaldi, F. Pugliese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rats of the Milan hypertensive strain (MHS) are resistant to both hypertensive and diabetic renal disease. Genetically determined hypertrophy of intrarenal arteries has been suggested as the putative mechanism preventing transmission of systemic hypertension to the glomerular microcirculation or diabetes-induced loss of autoregulation, which lead to glomerular hypertension and consequent podocyte injury and proteinuria. This study aimed to investigate glomerular barrier function and structure in ageing and diabetic MHS rats under basal conditions and after injection of 2.5 g of bovine serum albumin (BSA) causing increased workload and possibly removing haemodynamic protection by inducing renal cortical vasodilatation. Genetically related rats of the Milan normotensive strain (MNS) served as a proteinuric counterpart. No change in renal function or structure was detected in diabetic MHS rats, whereas MNS rats developed diabetic nephropathy superimposed on that occurring spontaneously in this strain. Diabetic, but not non-diabetic, MHS rats showed significantly reduced synaptopodin and nephrin expression, though to a lesser extent than non-diabetic and diabetic MNS rats, together with unchanged podocyte number, density and structure and no proteinuria. Agrin expression was significantly altered in diabetic versus non-diabetic MHS animals, whereas collagen I was expressed only in diabetic MHS rats and collagen IV content did not change significantly between the two groups. Upon BSA injection, proteinuria increased markedly and abundant BSA was detected only in kidneys from diabetic MHS rats. BSA injection was associated with changes in intrarenal arteries suggesting vasodilatation, without any influx of inflammatory cells. These data indicate that while MNS rats show marked changes in the glomerular filtration barrier with either age or diabetes, glomerulosclerosis-resistant MHS rats develop only minor diabetes-induced podocyte (and extracellular matrix) alterations, which are not associated with proteinuria unless they are unmasked by an increased workload or removal of the haemodynamic protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Experimental diabetes
  • Glomerulosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Nephrin
  • Podocyte
  • Proteinuria
  • Renal haemodynamics
  • Synaptopodin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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