Dysregulation of fatty acid oxidation and accumulation of fatty acids can cause kidney injury. Nifedipine modulates lipogenesis-related transcriptional factor SREBP-1/2 in proximal tubular cells by inhibiting the Adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway in vitro. However, the mechanisms by which nifedipine (NF) modulates lipotoxicity in vivo are unclear. Here, we examined the effect of NF in a doxorubicin (DR)-induced kidney injury rat model. Twenty-four Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into control, DR, DR+NF, and high-fat diet (HFD) groups. The DR, DR+NF, and HFD groups showed hypertension and proteinuria. Western blotting and immunohistochemical analysis showed that NF significantly induced TNF-α, CD36, SREBP-1/2, and acetyl-CoA carboxylase expression and renal fibrosis, and reduced fatty acid synthase and AMPK compared to other groups (p < 0.05). Additionally, 18 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who received renal transplants were enrolled to examine their graft fibrosis and lipid contents via transient elastography. Low-density lipoprotein levels in patients with CKD strongly correlated with lipid contents and fibrosis in grafted kidneys (p < 0.05). Thus, NF may initiate lipogenesis through the SREBP-1/2/AMPK pathway and lipid uptake by CD36 upregulation and aggravate renal fibrosis in vivo. Higher low-density lipoprotein levels may correlate with renal fibrosis and lipid accumulation in grafted kidneys of patients with CKD.
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