A novel model of reno-cardiac syndrome in the C57BL/ 6 mouse strain

BMC Nephrol. 2018 Dec 4;19(1):346. doi: 10.1186/s12882-018-1155-3.


Background: The end stage renal disease population has a 20 fold higher incidence of cardiovascular mortality compared to the overall population. The development of reno-cardiac syndrome in these patients will result in cardiovascular events to be the cause of 50% of fatalities. There is therefore a need to research improved therapeutic strategies to combat renal cardiac pathologies. Murine in vivo models contribute greatly to such research allowing for specific genetic modification and reduced miscellany, however there is currently no reliable model of reno-cardiac syndrome in the most common genetically modified mouse strain, the C57BL/6. In this study we have manipulated an established model of chronic renal disease using adenine infused diet and prolonged the course of its pathology achieving chronic renal failure and subsequent reno-cardiac syndrome in the C57BL/6 mouse.

Methods: Eight week-old male C57BL/ 6 mice were acclimatised for 7 days before administration of a 0.15% adenine diet or control diet for 20 weeks. Cardiac function was assessed in mice at week 20 by echocardiography. At experiment termination blood and urine samples were analysed biochemically and organ dysfunction/injury was determined using immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.

Results: Administration of 0.15% adenine diet caused progressive renal failure resulting in reno-cardiac syndrome. At endpoint uraemia was confirmed by blood biochemistry which in the adenine fed mice showed significant increases in serum creatinine, urea, calcium (P < 0.0001) potassium (P < 0.05), and a significantly reduced glomerular filtration rate (P < 0.05). Reno-cardiac syndrome was confirmed by a significantly increased heart to body weight ratio (P < 0.0001) and echocardiography which showed significant reductions in percentage of ejection fraction, fractional shortening, fractional area change, (P < 0.0001) and an increase in left ventricular end diastolic volume (P < 0.05). Immunoblotting of kidney and heart tissue showed increased apoptosis (caspase 3) and fibrosis (fibronectin) and increases in the cardiac levels of phosphorylated Akt, and renal total Akt. Immunohistochemistry for α-SMA, collagen 1 and collagen 3 further confirmed fibrosis.

Conclusions: We present a novel regimen of adenine diet which induces both chronic kidney disease and reno-cardiac syndrome in the C57/BL6 mouse strain. The non-surgical nature of this model makes it highly reproducible compared to other models currently available.

Keywords: C57/BL 6 mouse; CKD; Cardiac dysfunction; Cardiac hypertrophy; Chronic kidney disease; Experimental renal failure; RCS; Renal fibrosis; Reno-cardiac syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / administration & dosage
  • Adenine / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Random Allocation


  • Adenine