Background. Although, pharmacological intervention with a selective arginine vasopressin (AVP) V2 receptor antagonist has been demonstrated to be effective for syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH), its long-term administration has some therapeutic limitations. Lithium, a drug for bipolar disorders, has been known to cause nephrogenic diabetes insipidus by reducing kidney-specific apical water channel, aquaporin 2 (AQP2) expression in the collecting ducts. However, its pharmacological efficacy for SIADH still remains to be elucidated. Methods. Hyponatraemia was induced in male Sprague-Dawley rats by water loading and subcutaneous infusion of 1-deamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin. For the treatment, lithium chloride (LiCl) was administered singly or in combination with OPC-31260 and/or furosemide for 7 days. Protein expression of AQP2 was examined by western blotting at the end of the observation period. Results. The LiCl administration elevated serum sodium levels in a dose-dependent manner. The therapeutic effect started 3 days after the initial administration and gradually increased. Western blot analysis at the end of the treatment demonstrated dose-dependent reduction of AQP2 protein expression. Additional administration of LiCl (100 mg/kg/day, the dose demonstrated to maintain serum lithium concentration within therapeutic range) to low dose OPC-31260 maintained well the initial elevation of serum sodium level during the treatment. Western blot analysis after combination therapy demonstrated the absence of re-increase in AQP2 expression noted at the end of OPC-31260 treatment. However, further additive effect could not be obtained even when both LiCl and furosemide were added together to low dose OPC-31260. Conclusions. Although the single effect of therapeutic dose of lithium was weak, it effectively and safely compensated for the therapeutic limitations of a low dose of AVP V2 receptor antagonist for SIADH by reducing AQP2 expression.
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