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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

C-peptide signals via Galpha i to protect against TNF-alpha-mediated apoptosis of opossum kidney proximal tubular cells.

Cell loss by apoptosis occurs in renal injury such as diabetic nephropathy. TNF-alpha is a cytokine that induces apoptosis and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. The aim was to investigate whether C-peptide or insulin could modulate TNF-alpha-mediated cell death in opossum kidney proximal tubular cells and to examine the mechanism(s) of any effects observed. C-peptide and insulin protect against TNF-alpha-induced proximal tubular cell toxicity and apoptosis. Cell viability was analyzed by methylthiazoletetrazolium assay; cell viability was reduced to 60.8 +/- 2.7% of control after stimulation with 300 ng/ml TNF-alpha. Compromised cell viability was reversed by pretreatment with 5 nM C-peptide or 100 nM insulin. TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis was detected by DNA nick-end labeling and by measuring histone associated DNA fragments using ELISA. By ELISA assay, 300 ng/ml TNF-alpha increased apoptosis by 145.8 +/- 4.9% compared with controls, whereas 5 nM C-peptide and 100 nM insulin reduced apoptosis to 81.6 +/- 4.8 and 77.4 +/- 3.1% of control, respectively. The protective effects of C-peptide and insulin were associated with activation of NF-kappaB. Activation of NF-kappaB by C-peptide was pertussis toxin sensitive and dependent on activation of Galpha(i). Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase but not extracellular signal regulated mitogen-activated protein kinase mediated C-peptide and insulin activation of NF-kappaB. The cytoprotective effects of both C-peptide and insulin were related to increased expression of TNF receptor-associated factor 2, the product of an NF-kappaB-dependent survival gene. These data suggest that C-peptide and/or insulin activation of NF-kappaB-regulated survival genes protects against TNF-alpha-induced renal tubular injury in diabetes. The data further support the concept of C-peptide as a peptide hormone in its own right and suggest a potential therapeutic role for C-peptide.[1]


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