Recent studies have shown that Notch pathway plays a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy (DN), however, the exact mechanisms remain elusive. Here we demonstrated that high glucose (HG) upregulated Notch pathway in podocytes accompanied with the alteration of Bcl-2 and p53 pathways, subsequently leading to podocytes apoptosis. Inhibition of Notch pathway by chemical inhibitor or specific short hairpin RNA (shRNA) vector in podocytes prevented Bcl-2- and p53-dependent cell apoptosis. These findings suggest that Notch pathway mediates HG-induced podocytes apoptosis via Bcl-2 and p53 pathways. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 1029–1038, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.