In the present study, we evaluated the effect of simultaneously blocking angiotensin II synthesis and endothelin (ET)-1 activity as a multimodal intervention to implement renoprotection in overt diabetic nephropathy. Mechanisms underlying combined therapy effectiveness were addressed by investigating podocyte structure and function and glomerular barrier size-selective properties. Uninephrectomized rats made diabetic by streptozotocin received orally placebo, lisinopril (12.5 mg/l), the ETA receptor antagonist avosentan (30 mg/kg), or their combination from 4 (when animals had proteinuria) to 8 mo. Proteinuria, renal damage, podocyte number, nephrin expression, and glomerular size selectivity by graded-size Ficoll molecule fractional clearance were assessed. Combined therapy normalized proteinuria, provided complete protection from tubulointerstitial damage, and induced regression of glomerular lesions, while only a partial renoprotection was achieved by each drug alone. Lisinopril plus avosentan restored to normal values the number of podocytes. Single therapies only limited podocyte depletion. Defective nephrin expression of diabetes was prevented by each drug. Altered glomerular size selectivity to large macromolecules of diabetic rats was remarkably improved by lisinopril and the combined treatment. Avosentan ameliorated peritubular capillary architecture and reduced interstitial inflammation and fibrosis. The ACE inhibitor and ETA receptor antagonist induced regression of glomerular lesions in overt diabetic nephropathy. Regression of renal disease was conceivably the result of the synergistic effect of the ACE inhibitor of preserving glomerular permselective properties and the ETA antagonist in improving tubulointerstitial changes. These findings provide mechanistic insights to explain the antiproteinuric effect of this combined therapy in diabetes.
- ACE inhibition
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Endothelin receptor antagonist
- Glomerular filtration barrier
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