Aims: Tacrolimus—a widely used immunosuppressant to prevent allograft rejection after organ transplantation—is nephrotoxic, increasing the risk of kidney injury accompanied by kidney fibrosis. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, everolimus, is an immunosuppressant used together with tacrolimus. Although mTOR signaling inhibition has been demonstrated to exhibit antifibrotic effects, the efficacy of everolimus against tacrolimus-induced kidney fibrosis has not been explored. Therefore, we evaluated the protective effects of everolimus against tacrolimus-induced kidney fibrosis. Main methods: To assess antifibrotic effect of everolimus against tacrolimus-induced kidney fibrosis, male Wistar rats were subcutaneously administered vehicle or tacrolimus (5 mg/kg per day) and/or everolimus (0.2 mg/kg per day) for 2 weeks after bilateral renal ischemia for 45 min. The antifibrotic effect of everolimus was also assessed using rat kidney fibroblast cell line (NRK-49F). Key findings: Tacrolimus administration increased predominant profibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and fibroblast activation marker α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression and promoted the infiltration of macrophages in the kidney cortex, resulting in renal interstitial fibrosis in rats. Tacrolimus increased serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), and kidney injuries, such as tubular dilation, vacuolization, and glomerular atrophy. Everolimus administration attenuated tacrolimus-induced kidney fibrosis and the associated abnormalities. Everolimus strongly suppressed TGF-β-induced kidney fibroblast activation and extracellular matrix protein expression by the mTOR signaling inhibition. Significance: We demonstrated that everolimus attenuates tacrolimus-induced renal interstitial fibrosis in rats. Owing to its protective effect against tacrolimus-induced kidney fibrosis, everolimus may be useful when used concomitantly with tacrolimus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)