Simvastatin reverses podocyte injury but not mesangial expansion in early stage type 2 diabetes mellitus

P. Wei, P. R. Grimm, D. C. Settles, C. R. Balwanz, B. J. Padanilam, S. C. Sansom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Statins may confer renal protection in a variety of glomerular diseases, including diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, various glomerular lesions have different etiologies and may have different responses to statins. This study was performed to determine the differential effects of simvastatin (SMV) on glomerular pathology including mesangial expansion and podocyte injury in a mouse model of early stage type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Type 2 DM was induced in male C57BL6 mice by feeding a high fat diet (HF; 45 kcal fat). After 22 weeks, one group of HF mice was treated with SMV (HF-SMV; 7 μgdayg BW) and another group was treated with vehicle (HF-vehicle) for 4 weeks via osmotic mini-pump. A third group served as age-matched normal diet vehicle controls (ND-vehicle; 10 kcal fat). At the end of treatment, glomerular morphology was evaluated in a blind manner to determine the progression of DN. Body weight, blood glucose, insulin, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, but not LDL-cholesterol, were increased in HF mice. Over the course of treatment, the 24-hour urinary albumin excretion (UAE) was unchanged in ND-vehicle. HF mice exhibited elevated UAE, which decreased with SMV, but was unchanged with vehicle. The absolute mesangial volume and the relative mesangial volume per glomerular volume increased in HF-vehicle and remained elevated with SMV treatment. The immuno-staining of nephrin, a protein marker of the integrity of podocyte slit diaphragms, was decreased in HF-vehicle; however, the nephrin quantity of the HF-SMV group was not different from ND-vehicle. It is concluded that SMV reverses podocyte damage, but does not affect mesangial expansion in the kidneys of early stage proteinuria of type 2 DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalRenal Failure
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009


  • Albuminuria
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Mice
  • Simvastatin
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology


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