Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, and Lui Che Woo Institute of Innovative Medicine, Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong [Email]
Transforming growth factor-β/Smad3 signaling plays an important role in diabetic nephropathy, but its underlying working mechanism remains largely unexplored. The current study uncovered the pathogenic role and underlying mechanism of a novel Smad3-dependent long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) (LRNA9884) in type 2 diabetic nephropathy (T2DN). We found that LRNA9884 was significantly upregulated in the diabetic kidney of db/db mice at the age of 8 weeks preceding the onset of microalbuminuria and was associated with the progression of diabetic renal injury. LRNA9884 was induced by advanced glycation end products and tightly regulated by Smad3, and its levels were significantly blunted in db/db mice and cells lacking Smad3. More importantly, kidney-specific silencing of LRNA9884 effectively attenuated diabetic kidney injury in db/db mice, as shown by the reduction of histological injury, albuminuria excretion, and serum creatinine. Mechanistically, we identified that LRNA9884 promoted renal inflammation-driven T2DN by triggering MCP-1 production at the transcriptional level, and its direct binding significantly enhanced the promoter activity of MCP-1. Thus, LRNA9884 is a novel Smad3-dependent lncRNA that is highly expressed in db/db mice associated with T2DN development. Targeting of LRNA9884 effectively blocked MCP-1-dependent renal inflammation, therefore suppressing the progressive diabetic renal injury in db/db mice. This study reveals that LRNA9884 may be a novel and precision therapeutic target for T2DN in the future.