Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease After Acute Kidney Injury: Role of Self-Perpetuating Versus Hemodynamic-Induced Fibrosis

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The relative contribution of self-perpetuating versus hemodynamic-induced fibrosis to the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) after acute kidney injury (AKI) is unclear. In the present study, male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent right uninephrectomy and were instrumented with a blood pressure radiotelemeter. Two weeks later, separate groups of rats were subjected to 40 minutes renal ischemia–reperfusion or sham surgery and followed up for 4 or 16 weeks to determine the extent to which glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis as a result of the AKI–CKD transition (ie, at 4 weeks post AKI) change over time during the progression of CKD (ie, at 16 weeks post AKI). On average, tubulointerstitial fibrosis was ≈3-fold lower (P<0.05), whereas glomerulosclerosis was ≈6-fold higher (P<0.05) at 16 versus 4 weeks post AKI. At 16 weeks post AKI, marked tubulointerstitial fibrosis was only observed in rats exhibiting marked glomerulosclerosis, proteinuria, and kidney hypertrophy consistent with a hemodynamic pathogenesis of renal injury. Moreover, quantitative analysis between blood pressure and renal injury revealed a clear and modest blood pressure threshold (average 16-week systolic blood pressure of ≈127 mm Hg) for the development of glomerulosclerosis. In summary, modest levels of blood pressure may be playing a substantial role in the progression of renal disease after AKI in settings of preexisting CKD associated with 50% loss of renal mass. In contrast, these data do not support a major role of self-perpetuating tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the progression CKD after AKI in such settings.

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