JOURNAL ARTICLE

Endothelin up-regulation and localization following renal ischemia and reperfusion

S M Wilhelm, M S Simonson, A V Robinson, N T Stowe, J A Schulak
Kidney International 1999, 55 (3): 1011-8
10027938

BACKGROUND: Endothelin (ET), a potent vasoconstrictor, is known to play a role in ischemic acute renal failure. Although preproET-1 (ppET-1) mRNA is known to be up-regulated following ischemia/reperfusion injury, it has not been determined which component of the injury (ischemia or reperfusion) leads to initial gene up-regulation. Likewise, although ET-1 peptide expression has been localized in the normal kidney, its expression pattern in the ischemic kidney has not been determined. Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to determine whether ischemia alone or ischemia plus reperfusion is required for the up-regulation of ppET-1 mRNA to occur, and (b) to localize ET-1 peptide expression following ischemia in the rat kidney to clarify better the role of ET in the pathophysiology of ischemia-induced acute renal failure.

METHODS: Male Lewis rats underwent clamping of the right renal vascular pedicle for either 30 minutes of ischemia (group 1), 60 minutes of ischemia (group 2), 30 minutes of ischemia followed by 30 minutes of reperfusion (group 3), or 60 minutes of ischemia followed by three hours of reperfusion (group 4). The contralateral kidney acted as a control. ppET-1 mRNA up-regulation and ET-1 peptide expression were examined using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry, respectively.

RESULTS: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction yielded a control (nonischemic) value of 0.6 +/- 0.2 densitometric units (DU) of ppET-1 mRNA in the kidney. Group 1 levels (30 min of ischemia alone) were 1.8 +/- 0.4 DU, a threefold increase (P < 0.05). Group 2 levels (60 min of ischemia alone) increased almost six times above baseline, 3.5 +/- 0.2 DU (P < 0.01), whereas both group 3 and group 4 (ischemia plus reperfusion) did not experience any further significant increases in mRNA levels (1.9 +/- 0.4 DU and 2.8 +/- 0.6 DU, respectively) beyond levels in group 1 or 2 animals subjected to similar ischemic periods. ET-1 peptide expression in the ischemic kidneys was significantly increased over controls and was clearly localized to the endothelium of the peritubular capillary network of the kidney.

CONCLUSIONS: Initial ET-1 gene up-regulation in the kidney occurs secondary to ischemia, but reperfusion most likely contributes to sustaining this up-regulation. The marked increase of ET-1 in the peritubular capillary network suggests that ET-induced vasoconstriction may have a pathophysiological role in ischemic acute tubular necrosis.

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