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Kidney Blood Press Res. 2012;36(1):248-57. doi: 10.1159/000343414. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Renoprotective effects of sildenafil in DOCA-salt hypertensive rats.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.



Sildenafil, the first selective phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor to be widely used for treating erectile dysfunction, has been investigated with regard to its cardioand renoprotective effects in animal models. This study further investigated the renoprotective effects of sildenafil and their molecular mechanisms in deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt hypertensive (DSH) rats.


DOCA strips (200 mg/kg) were implanted in rats 1 week after unilateral nephrectomy. These rats were fed on a control diet, with or without sildenafil (50 mg·kg(-1)day(-1)), for 2 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was measured by the tail cuff method, and the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) was calculated. The extent of glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis was determined by Masson's trichrome stain. Renal expression of ED-1, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), Bax, and Bcl-2 were determined by semiquantitative immunoblotting, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and immunohistochemistry. TUNEL staining was used for detecting apoptotic cells.


The increased SBP in DSH rats was not attenuated by sildenafil treatment. The decreased creatinine clearance and increased ACR in DSH rats, compared with control animals, were attenuated by sildenafil treatment. Further, sildenafil treatment attenuated glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in DSH rats and counteracted the increased expression of ED-1, TGF-β1, and Bax and the decreased expression of Bcl-2 in the kidneys of these rats. The increase in the number of apoptotic cells in DSH rats was attenuated by sildenafil treatment.


Sildenafil effectively prevented the progression of renal injury in DSH rats via its anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, and antiapoptotic effects.

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