Pre-clinical evaluation of dual targeting of the GPCRs CaSR and V2R as therapeutic strategy for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Annarita Di Mise, Xiaofang Wang, Hong Ye, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Vicente E. Torres, Giovanna Valenti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), caused by mutations of PKD1 or PKD2 genes, is characterized by development and growth of cysts causing progressive kidney enlargement. Reduced resting cytosolic calcium and increased cAMP levels associated with the tonic action of vasopressin are two central biochemical defects in ADPKD. Here we show that co-targeting two GPCRs, the vasopressin V2 receptor (V2R) and the calcium sensing receptor, using the novel V2R antagonist lixivaptan in combination with the calcimimetic R-568, reduced cyst progression in two animal models of human PKD. Lixivaptan is expected to have a safer liver profile compared to tolvaptan, the only drug approved to delay PKD progression, based on computational model results and initial clinical evidence. PCK rat and Pkd1RC/RC mouse littermates were fed without or with lixivaptan (0.5%) and R-568 (0.025% for rats and 0.04% for mice), alone or in combination, for 7 (rats) or 13 (mice) weeks. In PCK rats, the combined treatment strongly decreased kidney weight, cyst and fibrosis volumes by 20%, 49%, and 73%, respectively, compared to untreated animals. In Pkd1RC/RC mice, the same parameters were reduced by 20%, 56%, and 69%, respectively. In both cases the combined treatment appeared nominally more effective than the individual drugs used alone. These data point to an intriguing new application for two existing drugs in PKD treatment. The potential for synergy between these two compounds suggested in these animal studies, if confirmed in appropriate clinical investigations, would represent a welcome advancement in the treatment of ADPKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21874
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • GPCRs
  • calcimimetics
  • calcium-sensing receptor
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • vaptans
  • vasopressin V2 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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