Rapamycin downregulates α-klotho in the kidneys of female rats with normal and reduced renal function

Both mTOR and α-klotho play a role in the pathophysiology of renal disease, influence mineral metabolism and participate in the aging process. The influence of mTOR inhibition by rapamycin on renal α-klotho expression is unknown. Rats with normal (controls) and reduced (Nx) renal function were treated with rapamycin, 1.3 mg/kg/day, for 22 days. The experiments were conducted with rats fed 0.6% P diet (NP) and 0.2% P diet (LP). Treatment with rapamycin promoted phosphaturia in control and Nx rats fed NP and LP. A decrease in FGF23 was identified in controls after treatment with rapamycin. In rats fed NP, rapamycin decreased mRNA α-klotho/GADPH ratio both in controls, 0.6±0.1 vs 1.1±0.1, p = 0.001, and Nx, 0.3±0.1 vs 0.7±0.1, p = 0.01. At the protein level, a significant reduction in α-klotho was evidenced after treatment with rapamycin both by Western Blot: 0.6±0.1 vs 1.0±0.1, p = 0.01, in controls, 0.7±0.1 vs 1.1±0.1, p = 0.02, in Nx; and by immunohistochemistry staining. Renal α-klotho was inversely correlated with urinary P excretion (r = -0.525, p = 0.0002). The decrease in α-klotho after treatment with rapamycin was also observed in rats fed LP. In conclusion, rapamycin increases phosphaturia and down-regulates α-klotho expression in rats with normal and decreased renal function. These effects can be observed in animals ingesting normal and low P diet.

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