Kuin, A., Kruse, J. J. and Stewart, F. A. Proteinuria and Vascular Changes after Renal Irradiation: The Role of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (Vegf). Radiat. Res. 159, 174–181 (2003).
Proteinuria occurs in all degrees of radiation nephropathy and can be present without other symptoms. In this study, radiation-induced proteinuria in C3H mice demonstrated a clear dose–response relationship and was apparent before the onset of significant structural vascular changes and decreases in renal function. This suggests that proteinuria is not a secondary event due to loss of the vascular structure. In an attempt to ameliorate radiation-induced proteinuria and progressive renal failure, two factors were studied. The influence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are generated by infiltrating neutrophils and mediate proteinuria in models of acute glomerular injury, was the first to be investigated. Short-term administration of the reactive oxygen scavengers superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase did not reverse an established radiation-induced proteinuria. Continuous administration of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) also failed to inhibit this proteinuria. However, since no direct assessment of the impact of these interventions on renal redox status was made, the putative role of ROS in radiation-induced proteinuria and nephropathy remains undefined. The second factor studied was vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegf), which is suggested to be involved in glomerular vessel permeability and the development of proteinuria in some models of renal disease. Northern blot analysis of mRNA from whole kidneys did not demonstrate any increased expression of Vegf after irradiation. There was also no change in the ratio of the different Vegf isoforms (PCR analysis), either in the whole kidney or in isolated glomeruli. No significant role for Vegf was identified for radiation-induced vascular changes or proteinuria, although post-transcriptional changes cannot be excluded.