Aristolochic Acid (AA) nephropathy (AAN) is a progressive tubulointerstitial nephritis characterized by an early phase of acute kidney injury (AKI) leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD). The reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability reported in AAN might contribute to renal function impairment and progression of the disease. We previously demonstrated that L-arginine (L-Arg) supplementation is protective in AA-induced AKI. Since the severity of AKI may be considered a strong predictor of progression to CKD, the present study aims to assess the potential benefit of L-Arg supplementation during the transition from the acute phase to the chronic phase of AAN. C57BL/6J male mice were randomly subjected to daily i.p. injections of vehicle or AA for 4 days. To determine whether renal AA-induced injuries were linked to reduced NO production, L-Arg was added to drinking water from 7 days before starting i.p. injections, until the end of the protocol. Mice were euthanized 5, 10 and 20 days after vehicle or AA administration. AA-treated mice displayed marked renal injury and reduced NO bioavailability, while histopathological features of AAN were reproduced, including interstitial cell infiltration and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. L-Arg treatment restored renal NO bioavailability and reduced the severity of AA-induced injury, inflammation and fibrosis. We concluded that reduced renal NO bioavailability contributes to the processes underlying AAN. Furthermore, L-Arg shows nephroprotective effects by decreasing the severity of acute-to-chronic transition in experimental AAN and might represent a potential therapeutic tool in the future.
- Arginine/administration & dosage
- Aristolochic Acids/toxicity
- Biological Availability
- Inflammation/prevention & control
- Kidney Diseases/chemically induced
- Nitric Oxide/metabolism