Macrophage Cyclooxygenase-2 Protects Against Development of Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is characterized by increased macrophage infiltration, and proinflammatory M1 macrophages contribute to development of DN. Previous studies by us and others have reported that macrophage cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) plays a role in polarization and maintenance of a macrophage tissue-reparative M2 phenotype. We examined the effects of macrophage COX-2 on development of DN in type 1 diabetes. Cultured macrophages with COX-2 deletion exhibited an M1 phenotype, as demonstrated by higher inducible nitric oxide synthase and nuclear factor-B levels but lower interleukin-4 receptor-α levels. Compared with corresponding wild-type diabetic mice, mice with COX-2 deletion in hematopoietic cells (COX-2 knockout bone marrow transplantation) or macrophages (CD11b-Cre COX2f/f) developed severe DN, as indicated by increased albuminuria, fibrosis, and renal infiltration of T cells, neutrophils, and macrophages. Although diabetic kidneys with macrophage COX-2 deletion had more macrophage infiltration, they had fewer renal M2 macrophages. Diabetic kidneys with macrophage COX-2 deletion also had increased endoplasmic reticulum stress and decreased number of podocytes. Similar results were found in diabetic mice with macrophage PGE2 receptor subtype 4 deletion. In summary, these studies have demonstrated an important but unexpected role for macrophage COX-2/prostaglandin E2/PGE2 receptor subtype 4 signaling to lessen progression of diabetic kidney disease, unlike the pathogenic effects of increased COX-2 expression in intrinsic renal cells.

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