Suramin: A Potential Therapy for Diabetic Nephropathy

Midhun C. Korrapati, Lauren H. Howell, Brooke E. Shaner, Judit K. Megyesi, Leah J. Siskind, Rick G. Schnellmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective:To determine whether delayed administration of a single dose of suramin, a drug that has been used extensively in humans to treat trypanosomiasis, attenuates renal injury in a leptin receptor deficient C57BLKS/J db/db type 2 diabetic nephropathy (T2DN) mouse model.Research Design and Methods:Groups of female non-diabetic (control) db/m and diabetic db/db mice of 8 and 16 weeks of age, respectively, were treated with suramin (10 mg/kg) or saline i.v. All animals were euthanized one week later. Measurements in mice 1 week following treatment included the following: body weight; blood glucose; urinary protein excretion; pathological lesions in glomeruli and proximal tubules; changes in protein expression of pro-inflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), profibrotic transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), phospho-SMAD-3 and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA); and immunohistochemical analysis of leukocyte infiltration and collagen 1A2 (COL1A2) deposition.Results:Immunoblot analysis revealed increased NF-κB, ICAM-1, TGF-β1, phospho-SMAD-3, and α-SMA proteins in both 9 and 17 week db/db mice as compared to db/m control mice. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed moderate leukocyte infiltration and collagen 1A2 (COL1A2) deposition in 9 week db/db mice that was increased in the 17 week db/db mice. Importantly, suramin significantly decreased expression of all these markers in 9 week db/db mice and partially decreased in 17 week db/db mice without altering body weight, blood glucose or urinary protein excretion. There was no difference in creatinine clearance between 9 week db/m and db/db mice ± suramin. Importantly, in the 17 week db/db mice suramin intervention reversed the impaired creatinine clearance and overt histological damage.Conclusions:Delayed administration of a single dose of suramin in a model of T2DN attenuated inflammation and fibrosis as well as improved renal function, supporting the use of suramin in T2DN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere73655
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 9 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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