Reactive oxygen species and the pathogenesis of radiocontrast-induced nephropathy

Invest Radiol. 2010 Apr;45(4):188-95. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0b013e3181d2eed8.


Experimental findings in vitro and in vivo illustrate enhanced hypoxia and the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within the kidney following the administration of iodinated contrast media, which may play a role in the development of contrast media-induced nephropathy. Clinical studies indeed support this possibility, suggesting a protective effect of ROS scavenging or reduced ROS formation with the administration of N-acetyl cysteine and bicarbonate infusion, respectively. Furthermore, most risk factors, predisposing to contrast-induced nephropathy are prone to enhanced renal parenchymal hypoxia and ROS formation. In this review, the association of renal hypoxia and ROS-mediated injury is outlined. Generated during contrast-induced renal parenchymal hypoxia, ROS may exert direct tubular and vascular endothelial injury and might further intensify renal parenchymal hypoxia by virtue of endothelial dysfunction and dysregulation of tubular transport. Preventive strategies conceivably should include inhibition of ROS generation or ROS scavenging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use
  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Bicarbonates / therapeutic use
  • Buffers
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Bicarbonates
  • Buffers
  • Contrast Media
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Acetylcysteine