5/6 nephrectomy as a validated rat model mimicking human warfarin-related nephropathy

Am J Nephrol. 2012;35(4):356-64. doi: 10.1159/000337918. Epub 2012 Apr 2.


Background/aims: We previously reported that patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) receiving warfarin therapy and whose international normalized ratio increases to >3.0 may develop acute kidney injury (AKI) as a result of glomerular hemorrhage and formation of obstructive red blood cell (RBC) casts. We named this condition warfarin-related nephropathy (WRN). We also previously reported that acute excessive anticoagulation with brodifacoum (superwarfarin) induces AKI in 5/6 nephrectomy (5/6NE) rats. Limitations of the brodifacoum model precluded a careful assessment of dose-response relationships.

Methods: Warfarin treatment was used in 5/6NE.

Results: Herein we report that warfarin treatment of 5/6NE rats resulted in a dose-dependent increase in serum creatinine (SC). The increase in SC following warfarin treatment was greater at 3 and 19 weeks after the ablative surgery, than that observed 8 weeks after the ablative surgery. The SC increase was correlated with the prothrombin time increase. Morphologically, 5/6NE, but not control rats, had acute tubular injury with RBC and RBC casts in the tubules. Treatment with vitamin K prevented SC increase and morphologic changes in the kidney associated with warfarin treatment. A single episode of WRN did not affect the progression of CKD in 5/6NE.

Conclusion: (1) The 5/6NE model of CKD is an appropriate animal model to study the pathogenesis of WRN. (2) The pharmacokinetics of warfarin is better suited to the study of WRN than that of brodifacoum. (3) The more advanced stages of 5/6NE are more susceptible to WRN than the earlier stages. (4) Vitamin K treatment prevents WRN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / blood*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Antifibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Creatinine / blood*
  • Humans
  • International Normalized Ratio
  • Male
  • Models, Animal*
  • Nephrectomy
  • Prothrombin Time*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vitamin K / therapeutic use
  • Warfarin / adverse effects*


  • Antifibrinolytic Agents
  • Vitamin K
  • Warfarin
  • Creatinine