Aggravation of polycystic kidney disease in Han:SPRD rats by buthionine sulfoximine

Vicente E. Torres, Rose J. Bengal, Robert D. Litwiller, David M. Wilson

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28 Scopus citations


The administration of ammonium chloride or of sodium or potassium bicarbonate has marked effects on the development of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in Han:SPRD rats. Because of the possibility that these effects are mediated by changes in redox metabolism, the aim of this study was to determine whether depletion of glutathione, the most abundant and important cellular thiol and scavenger of reactive oxygen species, would affect the development of PKD in this animal model. +/+ and cy/+ Han:SPRD rats were treated with: (1) L-buthionine(S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO), a specific inhibitor of γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase, the rate-limiting enzyme for the synthesis of glutathione; (2) glutathione monoethyl ester (GME), a compound that is known to increase the intracellular levels of glutathione; or (3) BSO and GME. Treatment with these drugs was started at 3 wk of age, and the animals were killed at 6 or 8 wk of age. Renal levels of oxidized glutathione were significantly higher in cy/+ than in +/+ rats, whereas no significant differences in reduced glutathione were detected. The administration of BSO caused a marked reduction in the levels of glutathione. The administration of GME caused a significant increase in the levels of glutathione at 2 h, but not at 12 h, after the administration. The increase in the renal levels of glutathione 2 h after the administration of GME was less in the rats treated with BSO than in the rats not receiving this drug, indicating that in part the increase in glutathione level was due to de novo synthesis. BSO-induced glutathione depletion was accompanied by a marked aggravation of the renal cystic disease, as reflected by kidney weights, histological scores, and plasma urea concentrations. However, the administration of GME did not lessen the cystic disease and did not reverse the effects of BSO. The transient effect of GME administration and the simultaneous increases in the levels of cysteine and oxidised glutathione, in addition to reduced glutathione, may explain the lack of protection by GME. These data support the notion that changes in redox metabolism may affect the development of PKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1291
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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