Prevention of diabetic nephropathy by compound 21, selective agonist of angiotensin type 2 receptors, in Zucker diabetic fatty rats

Giovanna Castoldi*, Cira R. T. di Gioia, Camila Bombardi, Silvia Maestroni, Raffaella Carletti, U. Muscha Steckelings, Bjorn Dahloef, Thomas Unger, Gianpaolo Zerbini, Andrea Stella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of compound 21 (C21), a selective AT(2) receptor agonist, on diabetic nephropathy and the potential additive effect of C21, when associated with losartan treatment, on the development of albuminuria and renal fibrosis in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. The experiments lasted 15 wk (from 5 to 20 wk of age) and were performed in 40 ZDF rats and 12 control lean rats. ZDF rats were divided into 4 groups: 1) 9 rats were treated with losartan; 2) 10 rats were treated with C21; 3) 9 rats were treated with losartan plus C21; and 4) 12 rats were maintained without any treatment. ZDF rats showed an increase in blood glucose level, albuminuria, renal fibrosis, macrophage infiltration, and TNF-alpha expression and a reduction of glomerular nephrin expression compared with control lean rats. C21 treatment reduced renal glomerular, tubulointerstitial, and perivascular fibrosis, and macrophage infiltration and TNF-alpha expression in ZDF rats. C21 treatment caused a decrease in albuminuria in ZDF rats up to 11 wk of age. Losartan decreased macrophage infiltration, TNF-alpha expression, and renal glomerular and perivascular fibrosis, restored glomerular nephrin expression, but did not affect tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Losartan treatment caused a decrease in albuminuria in ZDF rats up to 15 wk of age. At the end of the protocol, only the combination of C21 plus losartan significantly reduced albuminuria in ZDF rats. These data demonstrate that C21 has beneficial effects on diabetic nephropathy, suggesting the combination of C21 and losartan as a novel pharmacological tool to slow the progression of nephropathy in type II diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F1123-F1131
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014


  • diabetic nephropathy
  • compound 21
  • urinary albumin excretion
  • experimental models
  • renal fibrosis
  • Zucker diabetic fatty rats

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