The role and mechanisms for upregulating complement factor B (CFB) expression in podocyte dysfunction in diabetic kidney disease (DKD) are not fully understood. Here, analyzing Gene Expression Omnibus GSE30528 data, we identified genes enriched in mTORC1 signaling, CFB, and complement alternative pathways in podocytes from patients with DKD. In mouse models, podocyte mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling activation was induced, while blockade of mTORC1 signaling reduced CFB upregulation, alternative complement pathway activation, and podocyte injury in the glomeruli. Knocking down CFB remarkably alleviated alternative complement pathway activation and DKD in diabetic mice. In cultured podocytes, high glucose treatment activated mTORC1 signaling, stimulated STAT1 phosphorylation, and upregulated CFB expression, while blockade of mTORC1 or STAT1 signaling abolished high glucose–upregulated CFB expression. Additionally, high glucose levels downregulated protein phosphatase 2Acα (PP2Acα) expression, while PP2Acα deficiency enhanced high glucose–induced mTORC1/STAT1 activation, CFB induction, and podocyte injury. Taken together, these findings uncover a mechanism by which CFB mediates podocyte injury in DKD.
Qingmiao Lu, Qing Hou, Kai Cao, Xiaoli Sun, Yan Liang, Mengru Gu, Xian Xue, Allan Zijian Zhao, Chunsun Dai