Dihydromyricetin promotes autophagy and attenuates renal interstitial fibrosis by regulating miR-155-5p/PTEN signaling in diabetic nephropathy
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the most common complication of diabetes and is prone to kidney failure. Dihydromyricetin (DHM) has been reported to have a variety of pharmacological activities. This study aims to explore the effect of DHM on DN and the underlying molecular mechanism. An in vivo DN rat model was established. The degree of renal interstitial fibrosis (RIF) was detected by hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining, Masson's trichrome staining, and immunohistochemistry (IHC). In vitro, NRK-52E cells were divided into four groups: normal glucose (NG), high glucose (HG), HG+DHM, and HG+rapamycin (autophagy inhibitor). The levels of autophagy- and fibrosis-related proteins were analyzed by western blotting. The expression of miR-155-5p and phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN) and their relationship were assessed by quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR and dual luciferase reporter gene assay. Our results showed that RIF was increased in DN rat model and in HG-induced NRK-52E cells. DHM treatment attenuated the increased RIF and also increased autophagy. MiR-155-5p expression was increased, while PTEN expression was decreased in DN rat and cell model, and DHM reversed both effects. Dual luciferase assay showed that PTEN was the target gene of miR-155-5p. DHM inhibited HG-induced fibrosis and promoted autophagy by inhibiting miR-155-5p expression in NRK-52E cells. In addition, DHM promoted autophagy by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. In conclusion, DHM promotes autophagy and attenuates RIF by regulating the miR-155-5p/PTEN signaling and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in DN.