The transcription factor c-Maf has been widely studied and has been reported to play a critical role in embryonic kidney development; however, the postnatal functions of c-Maf in adult kidneys remain unknown as c-Maf–null C57BL/6J mice exhibit embryonic lethality. In this study, we investigated the role of c-Maf in adult mouse kidneys by comparing the phenotypes of tamoxifen-inducible (TAM-inducible) c-Maf–knockout mice (c-Maffl/fl; CAG-Cre-ERTM mice named “c-MafΔTAM”) with those of c-Maffl/fl control mice, 10 days after TAM injection [TAM(10d)]. In addition, we examined the effects of c-Maf deletion on diabetic conditions by injecting the mice with streptozotocin, 4 weeks before TAM injection. c-MafΔTAM mice displayed primary glycosuria caused by sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (Sglt2) and glucose transporter 2 (Glut2) downregulation in the kidneys without diabetes, as well as morphological changes and life-threatening injuries in the kidneys on TAM(10d). Under diabetic conditions, c-Maf deletion promoted recovery from hyperglycemia and suppressed albuminuria and diabetic nephropathy by causing similar effects as did Sglt2 knockout and SGLT2 inhibitors. In addition to demonstrating the potentially unique gene regulation of c-Maf, these findings highlight the renoprotective effects of c-Maf deficiency under diabetic conditions and suggest that c-Maf could be a novel therapeutic target gene for treating diabetic nephropathy.
Mitsunori Fujino, Naoki Morito, Takuto Hayashi, Masami Ojima, Shun Ishibashi, Akihiro Kuno, Seizo Koshiba, Kunihiro Yamagata, Satoru Takahashi