Functional, molecular, and biochemical characterization of streptozotocin-induced diabetes

D. T. Ward, S. K. Yau, A. P. Mee, E. B. Mawer, C. A. Miller, H. O. Garland, D. Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Altered divalent cation homeostasis with bone mineral loss, hypercalciuria, and hypomagnesemia have been associated consistently with human diabetes mellitus. This study investigated functional, molecular, and biochemical determinants that accompany this condition in chronically (2 wk) streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. Catheterized, conscious, diabetic rats on servo-controlled fluid replacement exhibited an increased GFR (+70%) and a substantially raised urinary calcium output (+568%) when compared with control rats. In addition, fractional calcium reabsorption was reduced, indicating that the hypercalciuria was not due solely to an osmotic effect but may involve an actual tubular defect. The expression of proteins involved in renal distal Ca2+ and water transport in STZ-diabetic rats were then studied by Western analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy to investigate the molecular basis of the hypercalciuria. Extracellular Ca2+-sensing receptor abundance was reduced to 52% of control in STZ-diabetes, whereas thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter expression was increased by 192%. Subcutaneous insulin implant rectified both functional and molecular parameters. The levels of calbindin D28k, plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase, and aquaporin 1 in whole kidney and of aquaporin 2 in inner medulla were unchanged in diabetic and/or insulin replacement. Blood levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 were reduced in diabetes as were levels of osteocalcin, a marker of bone formation. It is concluded that diabetic hypercalciuria in rats involves elevated GFR with raised urinary output, reduced Ca2+ reabsorption, and impaired bone deposition. Changes in Ca2+-sensing receptor and NaCl cotransporter protein expression could account for the altered divalent cation homeostasis seen during diabetes mellitus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-790
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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