Influence of glucosamine on glomerular mesangial cell turnover: Implications for hyperglycemia and hexosamine pathway flux

Leighton R James, Catherine Le, James W. Scholey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Cells exposed to high glucose may undergo hypertrophy, proliferation, and apoptosis, but the role of hexosamine flux in mediating these effects has not been fully elucidated. Accordingly, we studied the effects of glucose and glucosamine on rat glomerular mesangial cells (MC) turnover. Compared with physiological glucose (5.6 mM), treatment with high glucose (25 mM) for 24 h stimulated MC proliferation, an effect that was mimicked by exposure to low concentrations of glucosamine (0.05 mM). The percentage of cells in G 0/G1 phase of the cell cycle was reduced with a concomitant increase of the number of cells in G2/M phase. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen, phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin [phospho-mTOR (Ser2448)], and total regulatory-associated protein of mTOR were increased by high glucose and glucosamine treatment. Inhibition of glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase (GFAT), the rate-limiting enzyme for hexosamine flux, with 6-diazo-5-oxonorleucine (10 μM) and of mTOR with rapamycin both attenuated glucose-mediated MC proliferation. Higher glucosamine concentrations (0.25-10 mM) caused MC apoptosis after 48 h, and, in addition, GFAT overexpression also increased MC apoptosis (TdT-dUTP nick end-labeling-positive cells: 3.8 ± 0.3 vs. 1.1 ± 0.2% for empty vector; P < 0.05). Hence, hexosamine flux is an important determinant of MC proliferation and apoptosis. The proliferative response to high glucose and hexosamine flux is rapamycin-sensitive, suggesting that this effect is associated with signaling through rapamycin-sensitive mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E210-E221
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Cell turnover
  • Hexosamine flux
  • High glucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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