Renal and systemic nitric oxide synthesis in rats with renal mass reduction

Sistiana Aiello, Marina Noris, Marta Todeschini, Sergio Zappella, Chiara Foglieni, Ariela Benigni, Daniela Corna, Carla Zoja, Daniela Cavallotti, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In rats undergoing renal mass reduction (RMR) oral supplementation with the nitric oxide (NO) precursor L-arginine increases glomerular filtration rate and ameliorates signs of glomerular injury, suggesting that chronic renal failure in the rats is a condition of low NO formation in the kidney. On the contrary, data are available that in the systemic circulation of uremics, both rats and human beings, NO is formed in excessive amounts and may contribute to platelet dysfunction and bleeding tendency, well-known complications of uremia. The present study was designed to clarify the pathophysiology of renal and systemic NO synthesis in uremia. We showed that renal ex vivo NO generation, measured as the conversion of [3H] L-arginine to [3H] L-citrulline, was lower than normal in RMR rats, seven days after surgery, and progressively worsened with time in close correlation with signs of renal injury. Consistent with these results, urinary excretion of the stable NO metabolites. NO2 -/NO3 -, significantly decreased in rats with RMR. To go deeper into the cellular origin and biochemical nature of this abnormality we used two histochemical approaches that could loCate either NO synthase (NOS) catalytic activity (NADPH-diaphorase) or NOS isoenzyme expression (immunoperoxidase). NADPH-diaphorase documented a progressive loss of renal NOS activity in RMR rats that co-localized with a strong progressive decrease of inducible NOS isoenzyme (iNOS) immunostaining. At variance with iNOS, endothelial cell NOS (ecNOS) staining was rather comparable in RMR and control kidneys. At variance to the kidney, in the systemic circulation of RMR rats the synthesis of NO increased as reflected by higher than normal plasma NO2 -/NO3 - concentrations. High systemic NO likely derives from vessels as documented by the increased NOS activity and higher expression of both iNOS and ecNOS in the aorta of RMR rats. Up-regulation of systemic NO synthesis might be an early defense mechanism against hypertension of uremia. On the other hand, more NO available to circulating cells may sustain the bleeding tendency, a well-known complication of uremia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Chronic renal failure
  • Hypertension
  • Injury
  • Nitric oxide
  • Uremia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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