Diabetic nephropathy often leads to end-stage renal disease and life-threatening morbidities. Simple control of risk factors is insufficient to prevent the progression of diabetic nephropathy, hence the need for discovering new treatments is of paramount importance. Recently, the dysregulation of microRNAs or the cannabinoid signaling pathway has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various renal tubulointerstitial fibrotic damages and thus novel therapeutic targets for chronic kidney diseases have emerged; however, the role of microRNAs or cannabinoid receptors on diabetes-induced glomerular injuries remains to be elucidated. In high-glucose-stressed renal mesangial cells, transfection of a miR-29a precursor sufficiently suppressed the mRNA and protein expressions of cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R). Our data also revealed upregulated CB1R, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, c-Jun, and type 4 collagen in the glomeruli of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, whereas the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) was decreased. Importantly, using gain-of-function transgenic mice, we demonstrated that miR-29a acts as a negative regulator of CB1R, blocks the expressions of these proinflammatory and profibrogenic mediators, and attenuates renal hypertrophy. We also showed that overexpression of miR-29a restored PPAR-γ signaling in the renal glomeruli of diabetic animals. Collectively, our findings indicate that the interaction between miR-29a, CB1R, and PPAR-γ may play an important role in protecting diabetic renal glomeruli from fibrotic injuries.
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