Background: Stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with enhanced aortic calcification. The aim of this study was to determine if the administration of indoxyl sulphate (IS), a uraemic toxin, stimulates the progression of aortic calcification.
Methods: The rat groups consisted of (i) Dahl salt-resistant normotensive rats (DR) with intake of 0.3% salt, (ii) Dahl salt-sensitive hypertensive rats (DS) with intake of 2.0% salt and (iii) Dahl salt-sensitive hypertensive IS-administered rats (DS-IS) with intake of 2.0% salt and 200 mg/kg of IS in water. After 30 weeks, their aortic and kidney tissues were excised for histological and immunohistochemical analyses.
Results: Severe vascular calcification was observed by von Kossa staining in the arcuate aorta of all the DS-IS rats, but hardly in DS or DR rats. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that osteopontin, core binding factor 1 (Cbfal), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin, IS and organic anion transporter (OAT) 3 were colocalized in the cells embedded in the aortic calcification area of DS-IS rats. Wall thickness was significantly increased in arcuate, thoracic and abdominal aortas of DS-IS rats compared with DS and DR rats. DS-IS rats showed significantly increased extent of glomerular hypertrophy, mesangial expansion, Masson's trichrome-positive tubulointerstitial area and glomerular and tubulointerstitial expression of transforming growth factor-ssl as compared with DS and DR rats.
Conclusions: IS induced aortic calcification with expression of osteoblast-specific proteins and aortic wall thickening. IS is not only a nephrotoxin but also a vascular toxin, and may contribute to the progression of aortic calcification in stage 5 CKD patients.