Purpose: Lovastatin, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, has been shown to preserve renal function in models of chronic renal failure. We determined the effect of lovastatin on renal function and hemodynamics in normal nonpathologic kidneys in a rodent model.
Materials and methods: Renal function was measured in anesthetized (Inactin) control rats (n = 13) and lovastatin-treated rats (15 mg./kg./day, 3 weeks, orally, n = 17). Renal blood flow was measured with an ultrasonic flowprobe, and glomerular filtration rate was measured by inulin clearance. The effect of lovastatin on pre- and postglomerular vessel diameters was also observed in a hydronephrotic kidney preparation by videomicroscopy.
Results: Lovastatin significantly increased (p < 0.05) renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate by 17% (3.4 +/- 0.2 ml./min./gram kidney weight (gKW) versus 2.9 +/- 0.2 ml./min./gKW) and 49% (0.67 +/- 0.04 ml./min./gKW versus 0.45 +/- 0.06 ml./min./gKW). The increase in renal blood flow was mediated by preglomerular vasodilation (expressed as percent increase from baseline diameter, n = 20), 25% in the interlobular artery and 20% in the afferent arteriole (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: In addition to its known lipid-lowering properties, lovastatin has a direct renal hemodynamic effect, increasing renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate in normal nonpathologic kidneys. Lovastatin's selective preglomerular vasodilation may account for the observed increase in renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate. Accordingly, this additional hemodynamic effect may be useful in preserving renal function in models of chronic renal failure.