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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Jun;22(6):1064-75. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2010090956. Epub 2011 May 26.

Suramin inhibits renal fibrosis in chronic kidney disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.


The activation of cytokine and growth factor receptors associates with the development and progression of renal fibrosis. Suramin is a compound that inhibits the interaction of several cytokines and growth factors with their receptors, but whether suramin inhibits the progression of renal fibrosis is unknown. Here, treatment of cultured renal interstitial fibroblasts with suramin inhibited their activation induced by TGF-β1 and serum. In a mouse model of obstructive nephropathy, administration of a single dose of suramin immediately after ureteral obstruction abolished the expression of fibronectin, largely suppressed expression of α-SMA and type I collagen, and reduced the deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. Suramin also decreased the expression of multiple cytokines including TGF-β1 and reduced the interstitial infiltration of leukocytes. Moreover, suramin decreased expression of the type II TGF-β receptor, blocked phosphorylation of the EGF and PDGF receptors, and inactivated several signaling pathways associated with the progression of renal fibrosis. In a rat model of CKD, suramin abrogated proteinuria, limited the decline of renal function, and prevented glomerular and tubulointerstitial damage. Collectively, these findings indicate that suramin is a potent antifibrotic agent that may have therapeutic potential for patients with fibrotic kidney diseases.

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