Abstract 382: Kidney-Heart Connection: One Kidney Nephrectomy Results in Cardiac Fibrosis and Differential Ventricular Gene Profiles in the Absence of Heart Failure
Background: Decreased renal function is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality by mechanisms that remain unclear. We hypothesized that even mild renal insufficiency produced by unilateral nephrectomy results in changes in ventricular structure and gene expression in the absence of hypertension or volume overload underscoring a kidney-heart connection in the control of myocardial structure.
Methods: Cardiorenal function and structure were assessed in Wistar rats [sham (S; n=10) and unilateral nephrectomized (UNX; n=9)] 4 weeks after UNX. GFR was determined by inulin clearance and renal blood flow (RBF) by PAH. Blood was obtained for BNP, PRA, and aldosterone. Hearts and kidneys were harvested for histological analysis. Cardiac function was assessed by echo. Genome-wide microarray analysis was performed on left ventricular myocardium (Affymetrix GeneChip® Rat Genome 230 2.0).
Results: Glomerular hypertrophy was observed in UNX (S:1±0.04, Nx:1.6±0.1 u3x106, p<0.001). GFR tended to decrease with a reduction in RBF (S:8±1, Nx:5±1 ml/min, p<0.005). Sodium and water excretions were not different between groups with no activation of PRA, aldosterone or BNP. LVEF and LV end-systolic and end-diastolic diameters were normal. Blood pressure (BP) was not different between groups. Importantly, Picrosirius Red staining in the ventricular myocardium of UNX compared to S revealed greater fibrosis (S:2.4±0.1, Nx:4.2±0.4 %, p<0.001). Further, microarray analysis of ventricular myocardium revealed that 278 genes significantly changed with UNX (1.5 fold, P<0.05) compared to S in genes related to cell growth, bone remodeling and muscle contraction (Z value>2).
Conclusion: We conclude that even mild renal insufficiency produced by unilateral nephrectomy initiates myocardial gene responses and fibrosis independent of alterations in the circulating RAAS, BNP, BP, volume overload or systolic dysfunction.
These studies support a kidney - heart connection in early renal dysfunction resulting in molecular ventricular remodeling and fibrosis. These studies in experimental mild renal dysfunction produced by removal of one kidney reveal a renal mediated mechanism for myocardial remodeling.