Urinary semaphorin 3A correlates with diabetic proteinuria and mediates diabetic nephropathy and associated inflammation in mice

Riyaz Mohamed, Punithavathi Ranganathan, Calpurnia Jayakumar, Ferdau L. Nauta, Ron T. Gansevoort, Neal L. Weintraub, Michael Brands, Ganesan Ramesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Semaphorin 3A (sema3A) was recently identified as an early diagnostic biomarker of acute kidney injury. However, its role as a biomarker and/or mediator of chronic kidney disease (CKD) related to diabetic nephropathy is unknown. We examined the expression of sema3A in diabetic animal models and in humans and tested whether sema3A plays a pathogenic role in the development of diabetic nephropathy. The expression of sema3A was localized to podocytes and epithelial cells in distal tubules and collecting ducts in control animals, and its expression was increased following the induction of diabetes. Quantification of sema3A urinary excretion in three different diabetic mouse models showed that excretion was increased as early as 2 weeks after the induction of diabetes and increased over time, in conjunction with the development of nephropathy. Consistent with the mouse data, increased sema3A urinary excretion was detected in diabetic patients with albuminuria, particularly in those with macroalbuminuria. Genetic ablation of sema3A or pharmacological inhibition with a novel sema3A inhibitory peptide was protected against diabetes-induced albuminuria, kidney fibrosis, inflammation, oxidative stress, and renal dysfunction. We conclude that sema3A is both a biomarker and a mediator of diabetic kidney disease and could be a promising therapeutic target in diabetic nephropathy.

Key messages Diabetes induced sema3A excretion in urine. Increased semaphorin 3A was associated with severity of albuminuria. Seme3A-mediated diabetes induced glomerulosclerosis. Peptide-based inhibition of semaphorin3A suppressed diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 29 2014


  • Albuminuria
  • Biomarker
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Sema3A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)


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