Geniposide Improves Diabetic Nephropathy by Enhancing ULK1-Mediated Autophagy and Reducing Oxidative Stress through AMPK Activation.


Dusabimana T(1)(2), Park EJ(1), Je J(1), Jeong K(1), Yun SP(1)(2), Kim HJ(1)(2), Kim H(1), Park SW(1)(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University College of Medicine, Jinju 52727, Korea.
(2)Department of Convergence Medical Sciences, Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University Graduate School, Jinju 52727, Korea.


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a common pathological feature in patients with diabetes and the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Although several pharmacological agents have been developed, the management of DN remains challenging. Geniposide, a natural compound has been reported for anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects; however, its role in DN remains poorly understood. This study investigated the protective effects of geniposide on DN and its underlying mechanisms. We used a C57BL/6 mouse model of DN in combination with a high-fat diet and streptozotocin after unilateral nephrectomy and treated with geniposide by oral gavage for 5 weeks. Geniposide effectively improves DN-induced renal structural and functional abnormalities by reducing albuminuria, podocyte loss, glomerular and tubular injury, renal inflammation and interstitial fibrosis. These changes induced by geniposide were associated with an increase of AMPK activity to enhance ULK1-mediated autophagy response and a decrease of AKT activity to block oxidative stress, inflammation and fibrosis in diabetic kidney. In addition, geniposide increased the activities of PKA and GSK3β, possibly modulating AMPK and AKT pathways, efficiently improving renal dysfunction and ameliorating the progression of DN. Conclusively, geniposide enhances ULK1-mediated autophagy and reduces oxidative stress, inflammation and fibrosis, suggesting geniposide as a promising treatment for DN.