Background: It has been shown that tubulointerstitial injury correlates well with a decline of renal function. In this study, we investigated the effect of high water intake (HWI) on functional and structural parameters in rats with subtotal nephrectomy.
Methods: Two weeks after the ablative procedure, rats were divided into two groups. One group received the treatment with HWI (3% sucrose added to drinking water) for eight weeks. Functional parameters were compared with sham-operated control (CONT) or nephrectomized rats without treatment (NX). Remnant kidneys were then assessed histologically for evidence of interstitial fibrosis and glomerulosclerosis.
Results: Creatinine clearance was significantly improved in HWI rats compared with NX rats. Simultaneously, urinary protein was also significantly reduced in HWI rats. HWI predominantly ameliorated interstitial lesions and, to a lesser extent, glomerular lesions. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) mRNA expression was significantly suppressed in HWI rats. In situ hybridization revealed that HWI suppressed TGF-beta mRNA expression mainly in the outer medulla. Fibronectin mRNA was also reduced by the HWI treatment. The changes in TGF-beta and fibronectin mRNA were in parallel with Na+/myo-inositol cotransporter (SMIT) mRNA, which is regulated by extracellular osmolarity. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that protein expression of TGF-beta and fibronectin coincided with the mRNA expression.
Conclusion: These results suggest that HWI reduces TGF-beta mRNA expression in medullary interstitium and ameliorates tubulointerstitial injury in rats with reduced renal mass.