Altered expression of iron transport proteins in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat kidney

D. T. Ward, K. Hamilton, R. Burnand, C. P. Smith, D. R. Tomlinson, D. Riccardi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Diabetes mellitus is associated with altered iron homeostasis in both human and animal diabetic models. Iron is a metal oxidant capable of generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and has been postulated to contribute to diabetic nephropathy. Two proteins involved in iron metabolism that are expressed in the kidney are the divalent metal transporter, DMT1 (Slc11a2), and the Transferrin Receptor (TfR). Thus, we investigated whether renal DMT1 or TfR expression is altered in diabetes, as this could potentially affect ROS generation and contribute to diabetic nephropathy. Rats were rendered diabetic with streptozotocin (STZ-diabetes) and renal DMT1 and TfR expression studied using semi-quantitative immunoblotting and immunofluorescence. In STZ-diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats, renal DMT1 expression was significantly reduced and TfR expression increased after 2 weeks. DMT1 downregulation was observed in both proximal tubules and collecting ducts. Renal DMT1 expression was also decreased in Wistar rats following 12 weeks of STZ-diabetes, an effect that was fully corrected by insulin-replacement but not by cotreatment with the aldose reductase inhibitor, sorbinil. Increased renal TfR expression was also observed in STZ-diabetic Wistar rats together with elevated cellular iron accumulation. Together these data demonstrate renal DMT1 downregulation and TfR upregulation in STZ-diabetes. Whilst the consequence of altered DMT1 expression on renal iron handling and oxidant damage remains to be determined, the attenuation of the putative lysosomal iron exit pathway in proximal tubules could potentially explain lysosomal iron accumulation reported in human diabetes and STZ-diabetic animals. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-84
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2005


    • Divalent metal transporter 1
    • Iron
    • Kidney
    • Streptozotocin
    • Transferrin receptor


    Dive into the research topics of 'Altered expression of iron transport proteins in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat kidney'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this