Rapamycin attenuates unilateral ureteral obstruction-induced renal fibrosis

Kidney Int. 2006 Jun;69(11):2029-36. doi: 10.1038/sj.ki.5000161.


Unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) is a well-characterized hydronephrosis model exhibiting interstitial inflammatory-cell infiltration and tubular dilatation followed by tubulointerstitial fibrosis of the obstructed kidney. Our recent report indicates that rapamycin is effective for 50% of transplant recipients with chronic allograft nephropathy. In this study, we investigate the effect of rapamycin on UUO-induced renal fibrosis. UUO or sham-operated rats were randomly assigned to rapamycin or vehicle and were killed on days 7 and 14 after UUO or sham operation. Rapamycin decreased cross-sectional and gross-morphology changes in the obstructed kidney significantly. Rapamycin markedly blunted the increase in weight of the obstructed kidney, obstructed kidney length, and the obstructed/non-obstructed kidney weight ratio (by 74.6, 42.8, and 61.6% on day 14, respectively, all P<0.01). The scores for tubular dilatation, interstitial volume, interstitial collagen deposition, and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) after UUO were significantly reduced by rapamycin. Rapamycin also decreased the number of infiltrative anti-ED1-positive cells and the gene expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 (84.8 and 80.2% on day 7) after UUO (both P<0.01). By double immunostaining and Western analysis, rapamycin blocked the TGF-beta1-induced loss of E-cadherin expression and de novo increase of the expression of alpha-SMA in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, rapamycin significantly attenuated tubulointerstitial damage in a UUO-induced rat model of renal fibrosis, suggesting that rapamycin may have the potential to delay the progression of tubulointerstitial renal fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibrosis / etiology
  • Fibrosis / prevention & control
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use*
  • Ureteral Obstruction / complications*


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Sirolimus