Previous studies by us and others have indicated that renal epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) are activated in models of diabetic nephropathy (DN) and that inhibition of EGFR activity protects against progressive DN in type 1 diabetes. In this study we examined whether inhibition of EGFR activation would affect the development of DN in a mouse model of accelerated type 2 diabetes (BKS with endothelial nitric oxide knockout [eNOS]). eNOS mice received vehicle or erlotinib, an inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase activity, beginning at 8 weeks of age and were sacrificed at 20 weeks of age. In addition, genetic models inhibiting EGFR activity () and transforming growth factor-α () were studied in this model of DN in type 2 diabetes. Compared with vehicle-treated mice, erlotinib-treated animals had less albuminuria and glomerulosclerosis, less podocyte loss, and smaller amounts of renal profibrotic and fibrotic components. Erlotinib treatment decreased renal oxidative stress, macrophage and T-lymphocyte infiltration, and the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Erlotinib treatment also preserved pancreas function, and these mice had higher blood insulin levels at 20 weeks, decreased basal blood glucose levels, increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, and increased blood levels of adiponectin compared with vehicle-treated mice. Similar to the aforementioned results, both and diabetic mice also had attenuated DN, preserved pancreas function, and decreased basal blood glucose levels. In this mouse model of accelerated DN, inhibition of EGFR signaling led to increased longevity.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.