Aims: Indoxyl sulfate (IS) is a uraemic toxin found at high concentration in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) co-morbid with chronic heart failure (CHF). The aim of this study was to determine direct effects of IS on cardiac cells as well as the pro-inflammatory effect of IS.
Methods and results: Indoxyl sulfate significantly increased neonatal rat cardiac fibroblast collagen synthesis (by 145.7% vs. control, P < 0.05) and myocyte hypertrophy (by 134.5% vs. control, P < 0.001) as determined by (3)H-proline or (3)H-leucine incorporation, respectively. Indoxyl sulfate stimulated tumour necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and IL-1beta mRNA expression in THP-1 cells as quantified by RT-PCR. Both p38 (RWJ-67657) and MEK1/2 (U0126) inhibitors suppressed all these effects by IS. Furthermore, western blot analysis showed that IS activated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) (p38, p42/44) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NFkappaB) pathways. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay showed that IS exerted its effects without affecting cell viability.
Conclusion: This study has, for the first time, demonstrated that IS has pro-fibrotic, pro-hypertrophic, and pro-inflammatory effects, indicating that IS might play an important role in adverse cardiac remodelling mediated via activation of the p38 MAPK, p42/44 MAPK, and NFkappaB pathways. Targeting reduction of IS and/or the pathways it activates may represent a novel therapeutic approach to the management of CHF with concomitant CKD.