Pregnancy worsens renal function in females with chronic renal failure (CRF) through an unknown mechanism. Reduced nitric oxide (NO) generation induces renal injury. Arginine transport by cationic amino acid transporter-1 (CAT-1), which governs endothelial NO generation, is reduced in both renal failure and pregnancy. We hypothesize that attenuated maternal glomerular arginine transport promotes renal damage in CRF pregnant rats. In uremic rats, pregnancy induced a significant decrease in glomerular arginine transport and cGMP generation (a measure of NO production) compared with CRF or pregnancy alone and these effects were prevented by L-arginine. While CAT-1 abundance was unchanged in all experimental groups, protein kinase C (PKC)-α, phosphorylated PKC-α (CAT-1 inhibitor), and phosphorylated CAT-1 were significantly augmented in CRF, pregnant, and pregnant CRF animals; phenomena that were prevented by coadministrating L-arginine. α-Tocopherol (PKC inhibitor) significantly increased arginine transport in both pregnant and CRF pregnant rats, effects that were attenuated by ex vivo incubation of glomeruli with PMA (α PKC stimulant). Renal histology revealed no differences between all experimental groups. Inulin and p-aminohippurate clearances failed to augment and renal cortical expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1a (HIF-1α) significantly increased in CRF pregnant rat, findings that were prevented by arginine. These studies suggest that in CRF rats, pregnancy induces a profound decrease in glomerular arginine transport, through posttranslational regulation of CAT-1 by PKC-α, resulting in attenuated NO generation. These events provoke renal damage manifested by upregulation of renal HIF-1a and loss of the ability to increase glomerular filtration rate during gestation.
- End-stage renal disease
- Renal damage