The rat kidney ablation and infarction (A/I) model of subtotal or 5/6th nephrectomy is the most commonly studied model of nondiabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD). The A/I kidney at 1 wk exhibits reductions in kidney function, as determined by glomerular filtration rate, and diminished metabolic efficiency as determined by oxygen consumption per sodium transport (QO2/TNa). As renoprotective AMPK activity is affected by metabolic changes and cellular stress, we evaluated AMPK activity in this model system. We show that these early pathophysiological changes are accompanied by a paradoxical decrease in AMPK activity. Over time, these kidney parameters progressively worsen with extensive kidney structural, functional, metabolic, and fibrotic changes observed at 4 wk after A/I. We show that induction of AMPK activity with either metformin or 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide increases AMPK activity in this model and also corrects kidney metabolic inefficiency, improves kidney function, and ameliorates kidney fibrosis and structural alterations. We conclude that AMPK activity is reduced in the subtotal nephrectomy model of nondiabetic CKD, that altered regulation of AMPK is coincident with the progression of disease parameters, and that restoration of AMPK activity can suppress the progressive loss of function characteristic of this model. We propose that induction of AMPK activity may prove an effective therapeutic target for the treatment of nondiabetic CKD.
Keywords: adenosine monophosphate; fibrosis; glomerular filtration rate; kidney metabolic efficiency; oxygen consumption.