Nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of renal hemodynamic changes in diabetes mellitus (DM). However, the role of NO in the pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy remains controversial. Renal hemodynamic changes in experimental DM can be acutely normalized by selective inhibition of neuronal NO synthase (nNOS). This observation suggests a nephroprotective potential of nNOS inhibition in DM. To explore this issue we assessed the long-term effects (12 weeks) of selective nNOS inhibition with the specific inhibitor S-methyl-l-thiocitrulline (SMTC) in uninephrectomized control and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. No beneficial effects of SMTC were observed in nondiabetic controls. In contrast, SMTC delayed the development of proteinuria (32 ± 8 vs. 53 ± 9 mg/24 h, week 8, p <0.05) and glomerulosclerosis (GS, 0.30 ± 0.08 vs. 0.57 ± 0.05, p <0.05) in diabetic rats. These effects coincided with early effects of treatment on the glomerular filtration rate, and were associated with lower renal expression of nNOS. Furthermore, SMTC-treated diabetic rats demonstrated reduced weight gain and urinary sodium excretion as compared to vehicle-treated counterparts, despite similar metabolic control and blood pressure. In summary, long-term nNOS inhibition had modest nephroprotective effects in uninephrectomized diabetic rats. These effects may be mediated by renal hemodynamic mechanisms, as well as by lower food (protein) intake.
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Glomerular filtration rate
- Neuronal nitric oxide synthase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology