Background: Cyclosporine A (CsA) is an essential immunosuppressant in organ transplantation. However, its chronic nephrotoxicity is an obstacle to long allograft survival that has not been overcome. Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is activated in the renal tissue in CsA nephropathy. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effect of the specific NF-κB inhibitor, dehydroxymethylepoxyquinomicin (DHMEQ), in a rat model of CsA nephrotoxicity. Methods: We administered CsA (15 mg/kg) daily for 28 days to Sprague-Dawley rats that underwent 5/6 nephrectomy under a low-salt diet. We administered DHMEQ (8 mg/kg) simultaneously with CsA to the treatment group, daily for 28 days and evaluated its effect on CsA nephrotoxicity. Results: DHMEQ significantly inhibited NF-κB activation and nuclear translocation due to CsA treatment. Elevated serum urea nitrogen and creatinine levels due to repeated CsA administration were significantly decreased by DHMEQ treatment (serum urea nitrogen in CsA + DHMEQ vs CsA vs control, 69 ± 6.4 vs 113.5 ± 8.8 vs 43.1 ± 1.1 mg/dL, respectively, p < 0.0001; serum creatinine in CsA + DHMEQ vs CsA vs control, 0.75 ± 0.02 vs 0.91 ± 0.02 vs 0.49 ± 0.02 mg/dL, respectively, p < 0.0001), and creatinine clearance was restored in the treatment group (CsA + DHMEQ vs CsA vs control, 2.57 ± 0.09 vs 1.94 ± 0.12 vs 4.61 ± 0.18 ml/min/kg, respectively, p < 0.0001). However, DHMEQ treatment did not alter the inhibitory effect of CsA on urinary protein secretion. The development of renal fibrosis due to chronic CsA nephrotoxicity was significantly inhibited by DHMEQ treatment (CsA + DHMEQ vs CsA vs control, 13.4 ± 7.1 vs 35.6 ± 18.4 vs 9.4 ± 5.4%, respectively, p < 0.0001), and these results reflected the results of renal functional assessment. DHMEQ treatment also had an inhibitory effect on the increased expression of chemokines, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and chemokine (c-c motif) ligand 5 due to repeated CsA administration, which inhibited the infiltration of macrophages and neutrophils into the renal tissue. Conclusions: These findings suggest that DHMEQ treatment in combination therapy with CsA-based immunosuppression is beneficial to prevent the development of CsA-induced nephrotoxicity.
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