Renal tubular injury is a critical factor in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is involved in diabetic nephropathy. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is an effective inhibitor of ER stress. Here, we investigated the role of TUDCA in the progression of tubular injury in DN. For eight weeks, being treated with TUDCA at 250 mg/kg intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) twice a day, diabetic db/db mice had significantly reduced blood glucose, albuminuria and attenuated renal histopathology. These changes were associated with a significant decreased expression of ER stress markers. At the same time, diabetic db/db mice had more TUNEL-positive nuclei in the renal tubule, which were attenuated by TUDCA treatment, along with decreases in ER stress–associated apoptotic markers in the kidneys. In summary, the effect of TUDCA on tubular injury, in part, is associated with inhibition of ER stress in the kidneys of diabetic db/db mice. TUDCA shows potential as a therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of DN.
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