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Kidney Int. 2013 Oct;84(4):703-12. doi: 10.1038/ki.2013.157. Epub 2013 May 22.

Progressive endothelin-1 gene activation initiates chronic/end-stage renal disease following experimental ischemic/reperfusion injury.

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1] The Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA [2] Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.


This study assessed whether endothelin-1 (ET-1) helps mediate postischemic acute kidney injury (AKI) progression to chronic kidney disease (CKD). The impact(s) of potent ETA or ETB receptor-specific antagonists (Atrasentan and BQ-788, respectively) on disease progression were assessed 24 h or 2 weeks following 30 min of unilateral ischemia in CD-1 mice. Unilateral ischemia caused progressive renal ET-1 protein/mRNA increases with concomitant ETA, but not ETB, mRNA elevations. Extensive histone remodeling consistent with gene activation and increased RNA polymerase II (Pol II) binding occurred at the ET-1 gene. Unilateral ischemia produced progressive renal injury as indicated by severe histologic injury and a 40% loss of renal mass. Pre- and post-ischemia or just postischemic treatment with Atrasentan conferred dramatic protective effects such as decreased tubule/microvascular injury, normalized tissue lactate, and total preservation of renal mass. Nuclear KI-67 staining was not increased by Atrasentan, implying that increased tubule proliferation was not involved. Conversely, ETB blockade had no protective effect. Thus, our findings provide the first evidence that ET-1 operating through ETA can have a critical role in ischemic AKI progression to CKD. Blockade of ETA provided dramatic protection, indicating the functional significance of these results.

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