Table of Contents
International Journal of Medical Genetics
Volume 2014, Article ID 180270, 6 pages
Review Article

The Role of Transforming Growth Factor-Beta in Diabetic Nephropathy

1Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
3Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Avenida Antônio Carlos 6627, Pampulha, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 5 October 2013; Revised 16 November 2013; Accepted 4 December 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editor: George N. Goulielmos

Copyright © 2014 Karina Braga Gomes 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.


Several studies have demonstrated that chronic and low-grade inflammation is closely linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus. The associated mechanisms are related to synthesis and release of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, mainly by the adipose tissue. Moreover, there are evidences that cytokines and adhesion molecules are important for development of diabetic nephropathy. Among the cytokines associated with inflammatory responses in type 2 diabetes mellitus, the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) has been recognized as a central player in the diabetic nephropathy being involved in the development of glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis, as observed in the course of end-stage renal disease. Although TGF-β1 is classically an anti-inflammatory immune mediator it has been shown that in the presence of IL-6, which increases before the onset of T2D, TGF-β1 favors the differentiation of T helper 17 (Th17) cells that are activated in many pro-inflammatory conditions. Since TGF-β1 mRNA and consequently serum TGF-β1 levels are under genetic control, this review aims to discuss the relationship of TGF-β1 levels and polymorphisms in the development of nephropathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus.