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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2003 Oct;14(10):2526-33.

Protection of wistar furth rats from chronic renal disease is associated with maintained renal nitric oxide synthase.

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Department of Physiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-9229, USA.


Wistar Furth (WF) rats do not develop renal injury after severe reduction of renal mass. Because clinical and animal studies suggested that nitric oxide (NO) deficiency occurs and may contribute to chronic renal disease (CRD), the status of the NO system in WF versus Sprague Dawley (SD) rats was examined with the 5/6 renal ablation/infarction (A/I) model of CRD. Eleven weeks after A/I, SD rats developed proteinuria, severe kidney damage, decreased renal function, and marked decreases in total and renal NO synthase (NOS), specifically neuronal NOS. In contrast, WF rats exhibited elevated baseline and maintained post-A/I total NO production, with no decrease in renal cortex NOS activity despite a decrease in remnant neuronal NOS abundance. When low-dose chronic Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester treatment was added for WF A/I-treated rats, rapid progression of CRD was observed. In conclusion, elevated NO production in WF rats was associated with protection from the progression of CRD after renal mass reduction. The protection might be attributable to greater total and renal NO-generating capacity and increased nephron number, compared with SD rats. NOS inhibition rendered WF rats susceptible to progression, suggesting a possible critical threshold for NO production, below which renal injury occurs.

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