Sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBP) are major regulators of fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. This study found that age-related renal matrix deposition and proteinuria were associated with increased renal expression of SREBP-1 and SREBP-2 and increased renal accumulation of triglyceride and cholesterol. Because calorie restriction (CR) modulates age-related renal disease, it then was determined whether the effects of CR are mediated partially by modulation of renal lipid metabolism. Compared with ad libitum (AL)-fed 24-month-old (24m) F344BN rats, CR resulted in significant decreases in extracellular matrix accumulation (periodic acid-Schiff staining and immunofluorescence of type IV collagen and fibronectin) and proteinuria. A significant decrease was also observed in the renal expression of growth factors (connective tissue growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor) and matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1). These structural and functional changes were associated with significant decreases in renal nuclear SREBP-1 (5.2 in 24m AL versus 3.3 densitometry units in 24m CR; P < 0.01) and SREBP-2 (7.1 in 24m AL versus 4.1 densitometry units in 24m CR; P < 0.01) protein abundance and renal triglyceride and cholesterol contents. It is interesting that serum leptin level was significantly increased as a function of aging, and CR resulted in significant reduction in serum leptin level. Because it was shown previously that increased renal expression of SREBP-1a per se caused renal lipid accumulation, glomerulosclerosis, and proteinuria, the results suggest that CR modulates age-related renal disease in part by modulation of renal SREBP expression and renal lipid accumulation.
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