Decreased hypoxia-inducible factor-1α in gastrocnemius muscle in rats with chronic kidney disease

Kidney Blood Press Res. 2012;35(6):608-18. doi: 10.1159/000339706. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


Background/aims: Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α is responsible for increased expression of genes engaged in angiogenesis. Our previous study indicated capillary rarefaction and atrophy of glycolytic fibers, mainly in locomotor muscles of uremic animals. Perhaps these changes are secondary to disturbances of HIF-1α in skeletal muscles.

Methods: Expression of HIF-1α at mRNA and protein levels, as well as mRNA of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-1, VEGFR-2, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), in gastrocnemius muscle (MG) and longissimus thoracic muscle (ML) were measured by RT-PCR and Western blot. Rats were randomized to subtotal nephrectomy (CKD5/6), uninephrectomy (CKD1/2) or sham operation (controls).

Results: For CKD5/6 versus controls, mRNA levels for HIF-1α, VEGF-A, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 were significantly reduced only in MG, while eNOS was significantly decreased and iNOS was significantly increased only in ML. Western blot analysis indicated significantly increased HIF-1α protein levels in MG and ML from CKD1/2 animals versus controls, whereas in the CKD5/6 group, the level of HIF-1α protein decreased significantly in MG and increased significantly in ML versus controls and CKD1/2.

Conclusion: The reduced expression of HIF-1α mRNA and protein in locomotor muscle from CKD5/6 animals may be involved in the pathogenesis of uremic myopathy. Increased expression of iNOS in the postural muscles may act as a protective factor through HIF-1α stabilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology


  • Hif1a protein, rat
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • RNA, Messenger