We evaluated the influence of increased dietary protein intake on glomerular structure and function in Lewis rats made diabetic with streptozotocin. We found that diabetic animals on a 20% or 50% protein diet ate approximately 50% more protein and excreted about 50% more urinary urea nitrogen than did their respective similarly-fed nondiabetic controls. The 50% protein diet was associated with higher glomerular filtration rates (GFR) and renal blood flows (RBF) at two months in both diabetic and control animals compared to their respective controls on the lower protein diet. However, GFR and RBF were not significantly higher in the diabetic animals on the 50% protein diet than in the controls on the 20% diet and were slightly, albeit not significantly lower than controls on the 50% diet. Glomerular capillary pressure (PGC) tended to be lower in the diabetic compared to their respective controls, while the high protein diet was associated with higher PGC in diabetic and nondiabetic animals. The PGC in the 50% diabetic rats was not different from the PGC in the nondiabetic rats. Urinary albumin excretion (UAE) rate was greater in the diabetic than in the nondiabetic animals. UAE was greatest in the high protein diabetic animals at six months. Glomerular basement membrane thickness after six months of diabetes was increased essentially equally in both normal and high-protein fed diabetic groups and was largely uninfluenced by diet in the controls. Fractional mesangial volume was increased and relative filtration surface was decreased only in the 50%-protein diet diabetic rats at six months. Thus, high protein diet was associated with increased fractional mesangial volume in diabetic rats, but this could not be explained by increased glomerular capillary flows or pressures. The mechanism of acceleration of mesangial expansion by high protein diet in diabetic animals was not elucidated by these studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH grant (#AM17697) and the Kroc Foundation. Streptozotocin used in this study was a gift from the Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. We thank Silvia Ro- zen, Susan Kupcho-Sandberg and John Basgen for their technical assistance with these studies. We thank Marshall Hoff for the illustra-tions. We greatly appreciate the critical comments and helpful review of the data provided by Dr. T.H. Hostetter.