Type 1 diabetes mellitus (insulin-dependent diabetes) is characterized by hyperglycemia caused by an insulin deficiency. Diabetic nephropathy is a major complication of hyperglycemia. 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM)-a natural compound produced from indole-3-carbinol, found in cruciferous vegetables-enhances glucose uptake by increasing the activation of the insulin signaling pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In this study, we investigated whether DIM could improve insulin-dependent diabetes and nephropathy in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice. In mice, STZ induced hyperglycemia, hunger, thirst, and abnormally increased kidney weight and serum creatinine, which is a renal functional parameter. DIM decreased STZ-increased high blood glucose levels and food and water intake in diabetic mice. DIM also improved diabetic nephropathy by inhibiting the expression of PKC-α, the marker of albuminuria, and TGF-β1, an indicator of renal hypertrophy, in diabetic mice. Our findings suggest that DIM may ameliorate hyperglycemia and diabetic nephropathy through the inhibition of PKC-α and TGF-β1 signaling.
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