To ascertain the possible roles of nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a key transcription factor of phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes, in renal cellular defense against oxidative stress, wild-type and Nrf2-knockout (-/-) mice were treated with ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) at doses of 3 or 6 mg iron/kg body weight. After Fe-NTA treatment, Nrf2 (-/-) mice consistently showed lower levels of glutathione (GSH) in the kidney at the low dose and the liver at the high dose than the wild-type mice. Gamma-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL) activity in the kidney and liver of Nrf2 (-/-) mice was also consistently lower than in wild-type mice after the Fe-NTA treatment. Histopathological examination revealed that nephrotoxicity of Fe-NTA, reflected in necrosis of renal tubule epithelial cells following nuclear damage, was more severe in the Nrf2 (-/-) mice than in their wild-type counterparts. Overall, the data suggest that Nrf2 (-/-) mice are unable to compensate for depletion of renal GSH because of oxidative stress, being more susceptible to Fe-NTA-induced nephrotoxicity. In conclusion, the present study showed that Nrf2 might play an important role in protecting cells from oxidative stress in the kidney through its regulation of antioxidant enzymes.
- Oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology