Vitamin D Receptor Activation Mitigates the Impact of Uremia on Endothelial Function in the 5/6 Nephrectomized Rats

Endothelial dysfunction increases cardiovascular disease risk in chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study investigates whether VDR activation affects endothelial function in CKD. The 5/6 nephrectomized (NX) rats with experimental chronic renal insufficiency were treated with or without paricalcitol, a VDR activator. Thoracic aortic rings were precontracted with phenylephrine and then treated with acetylcholine or sodium nitroprusside. Uremia significantly affected aortic relaxation (-50.0 +/- 7.4% in NX rats versus -96.2 +/- 5.3% in SHAM at 30 mu M acetylcholine). The endothelial-dependent relaxation was improved to -58.2 +/- 6.0%, -77.5 +/- 7.3%, and -90.5 +/- 4.0% in NX rats treated with paricalcitol at 0.021, 0.042, and 0.083 mu g/kg for two weeks, respectively, while paricalcitol at 0.042 mu g/kg did not affect blood pressure and heart rate. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) suppression alone did not improve endothelial function since cinacalcet suppressed PTH without affecting endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation. N-omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester completely abolished the effect of paricalcitol on improving endothelial function. These results demonstrate that VDR activation improves endothelial function in CKD.

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