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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 315494, 9 pages
Review Article

Role of Nutrient-Sensing Signals in the Pathogenesis of Diabetic Nephropathy

1Department of Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, Tsukinowa-Cho, Seta, Otsu, Shiga 520-2192, Japan
2Division of Diabetology & Endocrinology, Kanazawa Medical University, Kahoku-Gun, Ishikawa 920-0265, Japan

Received 25 March 2014; Accepted 13 May 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Akito Maeshima

Copyright © 2014 Shinji Kume et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease worldwide. The multipronged drug approach still fails to fully prevent the onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy. Therefore, a new therapeutic target to improve the prognosis of diabetic nephropathy is urgently required. Nutrient-sensing signals and their related intracellular machinery have evolved to combat prolonged periods of starvation in mammals; and these systems are conserved in the kidney. Recent studies have suggested that the activity of three nutrient-sensing signals, mTORC1, AMPK, and Sirt1, is altered in the diabetic kidney. Furthermore, autophagy activity, which is regulated by the above-mentioned nutrient-sensing signals, is also altered in both podocytes and proximal tubular cells under diabetic conditions. Under diabetic conditions, an altered nutritional state owing to nutrient excess may disturb cellular homeostasis regulated by nutrient-responsible systems, leading to exacerbation of organelle dysfunction and diabetic nephropathy. In this review, we discuss new findings showing relationships between nutrient-sensing signals, autophagy, and diabetic nephropathy and suggest the therapeutic potential of nutrient-sensing signals in diabetic nephropathy.