Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to play critical role in the development of diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, the effects and mechanism of plasmacytoma variant translocation 1 (PVT1) remain poorly understood. The expression of PVT1, miR-23b-3p, early growth response factor 1 (EGR1), Fibronectin (FN), Collagen IV (Col IV), alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), E-cadherin, and vimentin, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 was examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Cell proliferation was assessed by Cell Counting-8 (CCK-8) assay. Western blot assay was conducted to measure the protein levels of FN, Col IV, E-cadherin, α-SMA, vimentin, TGF-β1, and EGR1. The interaction between miR-23b-3p and PVT1 or EGR1 was predicted by starBase or TargetScan and confirmed by the dual luciferase reporter assay. The oxidative stress factors were analyzed by corresponding kits. We found that the expression of PVT1 and EGR1 was increased and miR-23b-3p was decreased in serum samples of DN patients and HG-induced HRMCs. Knockdown of PVT1 significantly inhibited HG-induced proliferation, extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and oxidative stress in HRMCs, while these effects were abated by inhibiting miR-23b-3p. In addition, EGR1 was confirmed as downstream target of miR-23b-3p and miR-23b-3p could specially bind to PVT1. Besides, downregulation of PVT1 inhibited the progression of DN partially via upregulating miR-23b-3p and downregulating EGR1. In conclusion, our results suggested that PVT1 knockdown suppressed DN progression though functioning as ceRNA of miR-23b-3p to regulate EGR1 expression in vitro, providing potential value for the treatment of DN.