Renoprotection by statins is linked to a decrease in renal oxidative stress, TGF-β, and fibronectin with concomitant increase in nitric oxide bioavailability

Ming Sheng Zhou, Ivonne Hernandez Schuman, Edgar A. Jaimes, Leopoldo Raij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Clinical and experimental studies have provided evidence suggesting that statins exert renoprotective effects. To investigate the mechanisms by which statins may exert renoprotection, we utilized the hypertensive Dahl saltsensitive (DS) rat model, which manifests cardiovascular and renal injury linked to increased angiotensin II-dependent activation of NADPH oxidase and decreased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. DS rats given high salt diet (4% NaCl) for 10 wk exhibited hypertension [systolic blood pressure (SBP) 200 ± 8 vs. 150 ± 2 mmHg in normal salt diet (0.5% NaCl), P < 0.05], glomerulosclerosis, and proteinuria (158%). This was associated with increased renal oxidative stress demonstrated by urinary 8-F- isoprostane excretion and NADPH oxidase activity, increased protein expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β (63%) and fibronectin (181%), increased mRNA expression of the proinflammatory molecules monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 (LOX-1), as well as downregulation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity (-44%) and protein expression. Return to normal salt had no effect on SBP or any of the measured parameters. Atorvastatin (30 mg·kg -1·day-1) significantly attenuated proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis and normalized renal oxidative stress, TGF-β1, fibronectin, MCP-1 and LOX-1 expression, and eNOS activity and expression. Atorvastatin-treated rats showed a modest reduction in SBP that remained in the hypertensive range (174 ± 8 mmHg). Atorvastatin combined with removal of high salt normalized SBP and proteinuria. These findings suggest that statins mitigate hypertensive renal injury by restoring the balance among NO, TGF-β1, and oxidative stress and explain the added renoprotective effects observed in clinical studies using statins in addition to inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F53-F59
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • End-organ injury
  • Hypertension
  • Transforming growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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