Leukotrienes and kidney diseases

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review will critically highlight the role of leukotrienes as mediators of renal diseases and drug nephrotoxicity. It will also discuss the recently identified mechanism of cysteinyl leukotrienes induction and action, and will propose clinical implementation of these findings.

Recent findings

Since last reviewed in 1994, leukotrienes were shown to mediate drug-associated nephrotoxicity, transplant rejection and morbidity in several models of renal diseases. Although leukotrienes may be released by various infiltrating leukocytes, a recent study demonstrated that cytotoxic agents trigger production of leukotriene C4 (LTC4) in mouse kidney cells by activating a biosynthetic pathway based on microsomal glutathione-S-transferase 2 (MGST2). LTC4 then elicits nuclear accumulation of hydrogen peroxide-generating NADPH oxidase 4, leading to oxidative DNA damage and cell death. LTC4 inhibitors, commonly used as systemic asthma drugs, alleviated drug-associated damage to proximal tubular cells and attenuated mouse morbidity.

Summary

Cysteinyl leukotrienes released by mast cells trigger the symptoms of asthma, including bronchoconstriction and vasoconstriction. Therefore, effective leukotriene inhibitors were approved as orally administered asthma drugs. The findings that leukotrienes mediate the cytotoxicity of nephrotoxic drugs, and are involved in numerous renal diseases, suggest that such asthma drugs may ameliorate drug-induced nephrotoxicity, as well as some renal diseases.

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