Drug Discov Ther. 2011;5(3):119-124. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2011.v5.3.119)

A low-dose combination of valsartan and low molecular weight heparin better improved glomerular permeability than did high-dose monotherapy in rats with diabetic nephropathy.

Jiao B, Zhang YH, Cheng YN, Gao JJ, Zhang QZ


Diabetic nephropathy is the most common and severe renal complication of diabetes mellitus. The present study sought to investigate the renoprotective effects of a combination therapy of valsartan and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) in rats with diabetic nephropathy induced by uninephrectomy and streptozotocin. The animals were divided into five groups as follows: sham-operated rats, diabetic control rats, diabetic rats treated with 20 mg/kg/day valsartan, diabetic rats treated with 600 IU/kg/day LMWH, diabetic rats treated with a combination of valsartan and LMWH (valsartan 10 mg/kg/day and LMWH 300 IU/kg/day). The treatment regimen was maintained for 8 weeks. Treatment with valsartan, LMWH, or a combination of the two had no significant effect on blood glucose levels. However, the urine protein excretion levels significantly decreased for the three drug treatment groups; the most dramatic decreases were observed in the combination treatment group. Kidney histology was examined using periodic acid-Schiff staining and immunohistochemical staining of extracellular matrix proteins. Results indicated that histopathology improved markedly in the three drug treatment groups; combination therapy had an equal or better effect than monotherapy in terms of decreasing the abnormal thickness of the glomerular basal membrane, the ratio of the area of the mesangial region with respect to the total area of renal glomeruli, and the accumulation of collagen IV and laminin in kidney tissue. In addition, serum levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) also markedly decreased in the drug treatment groups according to ELISA. However, there were no significant differences between the combination therapy group and monotherapy group. These results suggest that a combination of valsartan and LMWH at half the dose used in monotherapy is better at improving glomerular permeability in rats with diabetic nephropathy.

KEYWORDS: Valsartan, low molecular weight heparin, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), diabetic nephropathy

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