Long- and short-term treatment with imatinib attenuates the development of chronic kidney disease in experimental anti-glomerular basement membrane nephritis

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Imatinib is a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor that can block platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor activity. Imatinib is also known as an anti-inflammatory agent. We examined the therapeutic effects of long- or short-term imatinib treatment in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats with established anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) nephritis.


Nephrotoxic serum (NTS) nephritis was induced in WKY rats on day 0. Groups of animals were given either imatinib or vehicle daily by intraperitoneal injection, from day 7 to day 49 in the long-term treatment study, and from day 7 to 13 in the short-term treatment study; all rats were sacrificed at day 50.


In long-term treatment, imatinib showed marked renoprotective effects; imatinib suppressed proteinuria, improved renal function, attenuated the development of glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial injury and reduced the expression levels of collagen type I and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) in renal cortex. The key finding of the present study was that short-term treatment with imatinib also significantly attenuated the development of renal injury until day 50, although the degree of renoprotection was slightly inferior to that of long-term treatment.


These results suggest that administration of imatinib is a promising strategy for limiting the progression of glomerulonephritis (GN) to end-stage renal failure. In particular, a short period of treatment at an early stage of GN is more beneficial in terms of cost-effectiveness and reduction of adverse effects in comparison to a continuous and long period of treatment.

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