Low-protein diet prevents glomerular damage in adriamycin-treated rats

G. Remuzzi, C. Zoja, A. Remuzzi, M. Rossini, C. Battaglia, M. Broggini, T. Bertani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adriamycin (ADR) induces glomerular damage in rats with persistent proteinuria which develops 13 to 15 days after a single intravenous (i.v.) injection (5 mg/kg). Electron microscopy (EM) shows alterations of glomerular visceral epithelial cells with foot process fusions. The disease resembles minimal change nephropathy in humans. We studied the effect of two isocaloric diets with different protein content on urinary protein excretion, renal function, and glomerular morphology in rats treated with ADR. Six groups of rats were used. Group 1 received a single i.v. injection of ADR and was fed a standard diet containing 20% protein. Group 2 was fed a low-protein diet containing 6% protein starting 7 days before ADR. Group 3 was fed a low-protein diet starting the day after ADR. Group 4 served as control. Two additional groups of rats (5 and 6) were used to study the kidney distribution of ADR. Unlike animals fed the standard diet, animals fed the low-protein diet did not develop proteinuria. The kidney distribution of ADR measured at different intervals after drug injection was not influenced by the diet. Renal function as determined by glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal plasma flow (RPF) was not significantly modified in nephrotic rats receiving the standard diet compared to control animals. The low-protein regimen induced a significant elevation in RPF compared to the standard diet, but had no influence on GFR. Light and transmission EM studies showed alterations of glomerular visceral epithelial cells with fusion of foot processes in rats fed the standard diet, whereas no significant abnormalities of glomerular epithelial cells were detectable in animals receiving the low-protein diet. We conclude that the low-protein diet prevents the development of ADR glomerulopathy. The effect of the low-protein diet does not appear to be the consequence of changes in renal blood flow (RBF) and GFR, but rather reflects preservation of the permeability properties of the filtering membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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