Advanced glycation end products (AGE) play a causative role in the development of aberrant phenotypes of intraglomerular mesangial cells, contributing to acute/chronic glomerulonephritis. The aim of this study was to explore mechanistic effects of the flavonoid chrysin present in bee propolis and herbs on actin dynamics, focal adhesion, and the migration of AGE-exposed mesangial cells. The in vitro study cultured human mesangial cells exposed to 33 mM glucose and 100 μg/mL AGE-bovine serum albumin (AGE-BSA) for up to 5 days in the absence and presence of 1–20 μM chrysin. The in vivo study employed db/db
mice orally administrated for 10 weeks with 10 mg/kg chrysin. The presence of ≥10 μM chrysin attenuated mesangial F-actin induction and bundle formation enhanced by AGE. Chrysin reduced the mesangial induction of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) by glucose, and diminished the tissue α-SMA level in diabetic kidneys, indicating its blockade of mesangial proliferation. The treatment of chrysin inhibited the activation of vinculin and paxillin and the induction of cortactin, ARP2/3, fascin-1, and Ena/VASP-like protein in AGE-exposed mesangial cells. Oral administration of chrysin diminished tissue levels of cortactin and fascin-1 elevated in diabetic mouse kidneys. Mesangial cell motility was enhanced by AGE, which was markedly attenuated by adding chrysin to cells. On the other hand, chrysin dampened the induction of autophagy-related genes of beclin-1, LC3 I/II, Atg3, and Atg7 in mesangial cells exposed to AGE and in diabetic kidneys. Furthermore, chrysin reduced the mTOR activation in AGE-exposed mesangial cells and diabetic kidneys. The induction of mesangial F-actin, cortactin, and fascin-1 by AGE was deterred by the inhibition of autophagy and mTOR. Thus, chrysin may encumber diabetes-associated formation of actin bundling and focal adhesion and mesangial cell motility through disturbing autophagy and mTOR pathway.
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