Dexmedetomidine reduces norepinephrine requirements and preserves renal oxygenation and function in ovine septic acute kidney injury

Yugeesh R. Lankadeva, Shuai Ma, Naoya Iguchi, Roger G. Evans, Sally G. Hood, David G.S. Farmer, Simon R. Bailey, Rinaldo Bellomo, Clive N. May

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Norepinephrine exacerbates renal medullary hypoxia in experimental septic acute kidney injury. Here we examined whether dexmedetomidine, an α2-adrenergic agonist, can restore vasopressor responsiveness, decrease the requirement for norepinephrine and attenuate medullary hypoxia in ovine gram-negative sepsis. Sheep were instrumented with pulmonary and renal artery flow probes, and laser Doppler and oxygen-sensing probes in the renal cortex and medulla. Conscious sheep received an infusion of live Escherichia coli for 30 hours. Eight sheep in each group were randomized to receive norepinephrine, norepinephrine with dexmedetomidine, dexmedetomidine alone or saline vehicle, from 24-30 hours of sepsis. Sepsis significantly reduced the average mean arterial pressure (84 to 67 mmHg), average renal medullary perfusion (1250 to 730 perfusion units), average medullary tissue pO2 (40 to 21 mmHg) and creatinine clearance (2.50 to 0.78 mL/Kg/min). Norepinephrine restored baseline mean arterial pressure (to 83 mmHg) but worsened medullary hypoperfusion (to 330 perfusion units) and medullary hypoxia (to 9 mmHg). Dexmedetomidine (0.5 μg/kg/h) co-administration significantly reduced the norepinephrine dose (0.8 to 0.4 μg/kg/min) required to restore baseline mean arterial pressure, attenuated medullary hypoperfusion (to 606 perfusion units), decreased medullary tissue hypoxia (to 29 mmHg), and progressively increased creatinine clearance (to 1.8 mL/Kg/min). Compared with vehicle time-control, dexmedetomidine given alone significantly prevented the temporal reduction in mean arterial pressure, but had no significant effects on medullary perfusion and oxygenation or creatinine clearance. Thus, in experimental septic acute kidney injury, dexmedetomidine reduced norepinephrine requirements, attenuated its adverse effects on the renal medulla, and maintained renal function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1161
Number of pages12
JournalKidney International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • acute kidney injury
  • dexmedetomidine
  • norepinephrine
  • renal hypoperfusion
  • renal hypoxia
  • sepsis

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