JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rapamycin slows IgA nephropathy progression in the rat

Jihua Tian, Yanhong Wang, Xiaoshuang Zhou, Yanjiao Li, Chen Wang, Jiaming Li, Rongshan Li
American Journal of Nephrology 2014, 39 (3): 218-29
24603476

BACKGROUND: IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is the most frequent glomerulonephritis worldwide. Different therapeutic approaches have been tested against IgAN. The present study was designed to explore the renoprotective potential of low-dose mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor rapamycin in an IgAN rat model and the possible mechanism of action.

METHODS: After establishing an IgAN model, the rats were randomly divided into four groups: control, control with rapamycin treatment, IgAN model, and IgAN model with rapamycin treatment. Coomassie Brilliant Blue was utilized to measure 24-hour urinary protein levels. Hepatic and renal function was determined with an autoanalyzer. Proliferation was assayed via 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation. Real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry were utilized to detect the expression of α-SMA, collagen I, collagen III, TGF-β1 and platelet-derived growth factor. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were performed to determine p-S6 protein levels.

RESULTS: Low-dose mTOR inhibitor rapamycin prevented an additional increase in proteinuria and protected kidney function in a model of IgAN. Rapamycin directly or indirectly interfered with multiple key pathways in the progression of IgAN to end-stage renal disease: (1) reduced the deposition of IgA and inhibited cell proliferation; (2) decreased the expression of fibrosis markers α-SMA and type III collagen, and (3) downregulated the expression of the profibrotic growth factors platelet-derived growth factor and TGF-β1. The expression of p-S6 was significantly elevated in IgAN rats.

CONCLUSIONS: The mTOR pathway was activated in IgAN rats and the early application of low-dose mTOR inhibitor rapamycin may slow the renal injury of IgAN in rats.

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