Heme Oxygenase Improves Renal Function by Potentiating Podocyte-Associated Proteins in Nω-Nitro-l-Arginine-Methyl Ester (l-NAME)-Induced Hypertension

Joseph Fomusi Ndisang, Rajni Chibbar
American Journal of Hypertension 2015, 28 (7): 930-42

BACKGROUND: Although heme-oxygenase (HO) is cytoprotective, its effects on podocyte regulators like podocalyxin, podocin, CD2-associated protein (CD2AP) in renal dysfunction in N (ω)-nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester (l-NAME) hypertension are largely unclear.

METHODS: Hypertension was induced in normotensive Sprague Dawley rats by administering l-NAME for 4 weeks. Enzyme immunoassay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent, histology/morphology, spectrophotometry, and western immunoblotting were used. HO was enhanced with heme-arginate (HA) or inhibited with chromium mesoporphyrin (CrMP).

RESULTS: Treatment with heme-arginate reduced several renal histo-pathological lesions including renal arteriolar thickening, glomerular abnormalities, tubular cast, tubular atrophy/fibrosis, and mononuclear cell infiltration in l-NAME-hypertensive rats. Similarly, HA abated the elevated levels of renal extracellular matrix/profibrotic proteins like collagen and fibronectin that deplete nephrin, a fundamental transmembrane protein that forms the scaffoldings of the podocyte slit diaphragm permitting small ions to filter, but not massive excretion of proteins, hence proteinuria. Correspondingly, HA enhanced the aberrant expression of nephrin alongside other important regulators of podocyte like podocalyxin, podocin, and CD2AP, and improved renal function by reducing albuminuria/proteinuria, while increasing creatinine clearance. The renoprotection by HA were accompanied by significant reduction of inflammatory/oxidative mediators including nuclear factor-kappaB, macrophage inflammatory protein-1-alpha, macrophage chemoattractant protein-1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, IL1β, 8-isoprostane, endothelin-1, and aldosterone. These were associated with increased levels of adiponectin, HO-1, HO activity, cyclic guanosine monophosphate, and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), whereas the HO inhibitor, CrMP annulled the renoprotection and exacerbated renal dysfunction.

CONCLUSIONS: HA improves renal function by attenuating histopathological lesions, suppressing inflammatory/oxidative mediators, abating profibrotic/extracellular matrix proteins, and reducing albuminuria/proteinuria, while concomitantly potentiating the HO-adiponectin-ANP axis, enhancing nephrin, podocin, podocalyxin, CD2AP and increasing creatinine clearance. Our study underscores the benefit of potentiating the HO-adiponectin-ANP against nephropathy.

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