Increased production of superoxide anion contributes to dysfunction of the arteriovenous fistula

Mykola V. Tsapenko, Livius V. d'Uscio, Joseph P. Grande, Anthony J. Croatt, Melissa C. Hernandez, Allan W. Ackerman, Zvonimir S. Katusic, Karl A. Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Vascular access dysfunction causes morbidity in hemodialysis patients. This study examined the generation and pathobiological significance of superoxide anion in a rat femoral arteriovenous fistula (AVF). One week after AVF creation, there was increased production of superoxide anion accompanied by decreased total superoxide dismutase (SOD) and Cu/Zn SOD activities and induction of the redox-sensitive gene heme oxygenase-1. Immunohistochemical studies of nitrotyrosine formation demonstrated that peroxynitrite, a product of superoxide anion and nitric oxide, was present in increased amounts in endothelial and smooth muscle cells in the AVF. Because uncoupled NOS isoforms generate superoxide anion, and NOS coupling requires tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) as a cofactor, we assessed NOS uncoupling by determining the ratio of BH4 to dihydrobiopterin (BH2); the BH4-to-BH2 ratio was markedly attenuated in the AVF. Because Src is a vasculopathic signaling species upstream and downstream of superoxide anion, such expression was evaluated; expression of Src and phosphorylated Src was both markedly increased in the AVF. Expression of NADPH oxidase (NOX) 1, NOX2, NOX4, cyclooxygenase (COX) 1, COX2, p47phox, and p67phox was all unchanged, as assessed by Western analyses, thereby suggesting that these proteins may not be involved in increased production of superoxide anion. Finally, administration of tempol, a superoxide anion scavenger, decreased neointima formation in the juxta-anastomotic venous segment and improved AVF blood flow. We conclude that the AVF exhibits increased superoxide anion generation that may reflect the combined effects of decreased scavenging by SOD and increased generation by uncoupled NOS, and that enhanced superoxide anion production promotes juxta-anastomotic stenosis and impairs AVF function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1601-F1607
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012


  • Hemodialysis
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Oxidant stress
  • Tetrahydrobiopterin
  • Vascular access dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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