Author(s): Liang K, Vaziri ND
Chronic renal failure (CRF) is associated with an atherogenic lipid profile and an increased risk of ischaemic cardiovascular disease. The associated hyperlipidaemia is reportedly ameliorated by erythropoietin (Epo) therapy. According to a recent report, rats studied 3 weeks after 5/6 nephrectomy and fed a high-protein diet exhibited increased activities of hepatic HMG-CoA reductase (HMG-CoAR) and cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (Ch-7 alpha-H), despite normal corresponding mRNA values.
This study was designed to examine the effects of naturally progressing CRF of longer duration as well as those of Epo therapy on gene expressions of the key factors involved in hepatic cholesterol metabolism, i.e., LDL receptor (LDLR), HMG-CoAR, and Ch-7 alpha-H. Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to the CRF group (5/6 nephrectomy), Epo-treated CRF group (given Epo 150 U/kg/twice weekly) and sham-operated, placebo-treated normal controls. They were allowed free access to regular rat chow and studied 6 weeks after surgery. Liver mRNAs and protein mass or activities of the above factors were studied.
Plasma cholesterol concentration was significantly increased in the CRF group (P < 0.001) and was modestly lowered (P < 0.05) by Epo therapy. However, microsomal cholesterol concentration and LDLR, HMG-CoAR, and Ch-7 alpha-H mRNA as well as HMG-CoAR activity, and Ch-7 alpha-H and LDLR protein mass measurements were virtually identical in the three groups. Thus, hepatic LDLR, HMG-CoAR, and Ch-7 alpha-H mRNA and protein measurements in rats with CRF were similar to those of the normal control group representing an inappropriate response to the associated hypercholesterolemia. Epo therapy led to partial amelioration of CRF-associated hypercholesterolaemia with no discernible effect on hepatic tissue expression of the above factors.