Background: The potent vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 is involved in regulation of renal function, and is up-regulated in hypercholesterolemia (HC), a risk factor for renal disease that increases oxidative stress and impairs renal hemodynamic responses. However, the involvement of endothelin (ET) in this disease process is yet unknown.
Methods: Regional renal hemodynamics and function in vivo were quantified in pigs at baseline and during infusion of acetylcholine using electron beam computed tomography after a 12-week normal diet (N = 6), HC diet (N = 6), and HC diet orally supplemented (4 mg/kg/day) with the selective ET receptor-A (ET-A) blocker ABT-627 (HC+ET-A, N = 6). Plasma levels of 8-epi-PGF2-alpha-isoprostanes, markers of oxidative stress, were measured using enzyme immunoassay, and renal tissue was studied ex vivo using Western blotting, electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and immunohistochemistry.
Results: Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were similarly increased, but isoprostanes were decreased in HC+ET-A compared to HC alone. Basal renal perfusion was similar among the groups, while glomerular filtration rate (GFR) increased in HC+ET-A compared to HC. Stimulated perfusion and GFR were blunted in HC, but normalized in HC+ET-A. Moreover, ET blockade increased expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and decreased endothelial expression of the oxidized-LDL receptor LOX-1, as well as tubular immunoreactivity of inducible nitric oxide synthase, nitrotyrosine, nuclear factor-kappaB, transforming growth factor-beta, and tubulointerstitial and perivascular trichrome staining.
Conclusion: ET-A blockade improves renal hemodynamic and function in HC, and decreases oxidative stress, and renal vascular and tubulointerstitial inflammation and fibrosis. These findings support a role for the endogenous ET system in renal injury in HC and atherosclerosis.