Liraglutide Improves Renal Endothelial Function in Obese Zucker Rats on a High-Salt Diet

Vijayakumar Sukumaran, Hirotsugu Tsuchimochi, Takashi Sonobe, Mikiyasu Shirai, James T. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolic syndrome is a common risk factor in chronic kidney disease. We investigated whether liraglutide [(LIRA), a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist] treatment improved renal vascular function and renal remodeling in male Zucker rats on a high-salt diet (6% NaCl). Zucker lean (+/+) and obese (fa/fa) rats (8 weeks old) were treated with vehicle or LIRA (0.1 mg/kg per day) for 8 weeks on a high-salt diet. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was measured at 0 and 8 weeks using the fluorescein isothiocyanate/sinistrin method in conscious rats. We used X-ray microangiography to measure renal arterial vessel diameter (70-350 µm) and vessel number in vivo in anesthetized rats. Renal protein expression levels of nitrotyrosine, CD-68, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor-β1, cyclooxygenase-2, and GLP-1R were assessed by western blotting. Renal gene expressions were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. In contrast to vehicle-treated rats, fa/fa-LIRA rats improved GFR, nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasodilation in response to acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside in small arterial vessels (<200 µm diameter). LIRA treatment increased vessel responsivity to NO donors in comparison with vehicle treatment. Increases in the expressions of proinflammatory, profibrotic, and oxidative stress related genes in fa/fa rats relative to +/+ were unaltered by LIRA, other than a trend toward attenuation of VCAM-1 gene expression. However, LIRA treatment increased protein expressions of eNOS (P = 0.014) and VEGF (P = 0.063), while reducing glomerular macrophage infiltration in comparison with vehicle-treated fa/fa rats. Low-dose LIRA treatment improved renal vascular function through amelioration of vascular dysfunction and improved NO-mediated dilation of small intrarenal arteries and arterioles and a reduction in renal inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-388
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Cite this