Microsomal protein synthesis inhibition: An early manifestation of gentamicin nephrotoxicity

W. M. Bennett, L. M. Mela-Riker, D. C. Houghton, D. N. Gilbert, W. C. Buss

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55 Scopus citations


Aminoglycoside antibiotics achieve bacterial killing by binding to bacterial ribosomes and inhibiting protein synthesis. To examine whether similar mechanisms could be present in renal tubular cells prior to the onset of overt proximal tubular necrosis due to these drugs, we isolated microsomes from Fischer rats given 20 mg/kg gentamicin every 12 h subcutaneously for 2 days and from vehicle-injected controls. Concomitant studies of renal structure, function, and mitochondrial respiration were carried out [3H]leucine incorporation into renal microsomes of treated animals was reduced by 21.9% (P < 0.01), whereas brain and liver microsomes from the same animals were unaffected. Gentamicin concentration in the renal microsomal preparation was 56 μg/ml, a value 7- to 10-fold above concentrations necessary to inhibit bacterial growth. Conventional renal function studies were normal (blood urea, serum creatinine, creatinine clearance). Treated animals showed only a mild reduction of inulin clearance, 0.71 compared with 0.93 ml·min-1·100 g-1 in controls (P < 0.05), and an increase in urinary excretion of N-acetylglucosaminidase of 20 compared with 14.8 units/l (P < 0.05). Renal slice transport of p-aminohippuric acid, tetraethylammonium, and the fractional excretion of sodium were well preserved. There was no evidence, as seen by light microscopy, of proximal tubular necrosis. Mitochondrial cytochrome concentrations were normal and respiratory activities only slightly reduced. Processes similar to those responsible for bacterial killing could be involved in experimental gentamicin nephrotoxicity before overt cellular necrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F265-F269
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number2 (24/2)
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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