Background. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is involved in angiogenesis, wound healing and inflammation. VEGF exerts its effect via the tyrosine kinase receptors Flt-1 and KDR/Flk-1. We have previously shown that VEGF is up-regulated in a chronic cyclosporine (CsA) nephrotoxicity model. Our current study examined the role of angiotensin II (Ang II) blockade with enalapril (E) or losartan (L) on VEGF in this model. Methods. Pair-fed salt-depleted rats were administered vehicle, CsA, CsA + nilvadipine, CsA + hydralazine/hydrochlorthiazide (HCTZ), CsA + E or CsA + L, and were sacrificed at 7 or 28 days. Physiologic and histologic changes were studied in addition to the mRNA expression of VEGF and its receptors Flt-1 and KDR/Flk-1 by Northern blot, and the protein expression of VEGF by Western blot. Results. While all groups achieved similar blood pressures and creatinine clearances, the amelioration in nephrotoxicity was observed only with Ang II blockade. VEGF mRNA and protein expressions increased with CsA and became significantly reduced with Ang II blockade. Flt-1 expression was similar in all groups; it decreased early and remained low. On the other hand, KDR/Flk-1 mRNA expression was higher at seven days in all groups, except in the +E and +L groups where it was significantly lower, and then became further down-regulated at 28 days. Conclusions. The increased VEGF expression in chronic CsA nephrotoxicity seems to be related to up-regulation of Ang II. In addition, VEGF probably exerted its effect via the KDR/Flk-1 receptor. The actions of VEGF in this model remain speculative, but may be related to its effect on macrophage infiltration or matrix deposition.
- Chronic nephrotoxicity
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