Emerging research has identified the endothelin (ET)-1 pathway as a potential target for novel renoprotective therapies. We recently showed that selective ET-A receptor antagonism in chronic renovascular disease (RVD) improves renal function and reduces renal injury. Although ET-A and -B have opposing roles, in some clinical situations they may induce similar effects. Thus, we hypothesized that simultaneous blockade of the ET-A and -B receptors would protect the kidney during RVD.Methods
Unilateral RVD was induced in pigs. After 6 weeks, single-kidney function was quantified in vivo using multi-detector computer tomography. Pigs were subsequently divided into untreated (RVD, n = 7) or daily-treated with the dual ET-A/B receptor antagonist macitentan (RVD + macitentan, n = 6) for 4 weeks. At 10 weeks, in vivo studies were repeated, then pigs were euthanized and ex vivo studies performed in the stenotic kidney to quantify inflammation, fibrosis, microvascular density and remodeling.Results
Four weeks of macitentan therapy modestly improved renal blood flow (29%, P = 0.06 versus pre-treatment) and showed protective effects on the renal parenchyma by attenuating inflammation and glomerulosclerosis, reducing apoptosis and tubular casts and improving albuminuria and cortical microvessel density. No overt adverse effects were observed.Conclusion
Possibly by inducing a pro-survival renal microenvironment, macitentan increased renal microvascular density, promoted cell survival and decreased injury, which in turn improved stenotic kidney hemodynamics in our model. Our results further support the safety of using macitentan in patients with concomitant chronic renal disease and supported the feasibility of a new strategy that may preserve the stenotic kidney in RVD.