Glomerular matrix accumulation is a hallmark of diabetic nephropathy. We have recently shown that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) transactivation mediates high glucose (HG)-induced collagen I upregulation through PI3K-PKCβ1-Akt signaling in mesangial cells (MC). Phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) interacts with activated growth factor receptors and activates classic PKC isoforms. We thus studied its role in HG-induced collagen I upregulation in MC. Primary rat MC were treated with HG (30 mM) or mannitol as osmotic control. Protein kinase activation was assessed by Western blotting and collagen I upregulation by Northern blotting. Diabetes was induced in rats by streptozotocin. HG treatment for 1 h led to PLCγ1 membrane translocation and Y783 phosphorylation, both indicative of its activation. Mannitol was without effect. PLCγ1 Y783 phosphorylation was also seen in cortex and glomeruli of diabetic rats. HG induced a physical association between EGFR and PLCγ1 as identified by coimmunoprecipitation. PLCγ1 activation required EGFR kinase activity since it was prevented by the EGFR inhibitor AG1478 or overexpression of kinase-inactive EGFR (K721A). Phosphoinositide-3-OH kinase inhibition also prevented PLCγ1 activation. HG-induced Akt S473 phosphorylation, effected by PKCβ1, was inhibited by the PLCγ inhibitor U73122. PLCγ1 inhibition or downregulation by small interference RNA also prevented HG-induced collagen I upregulation. Our results indicate that EGFR-PLCγ1 signaling mediates HG-induced PKCβ1-Akt activation and subsequent collagen I upregulation in MC. Inhibition of EGFR or PLCγ1 may provide attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.