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Supplementary Material for: Direct Blood Pressure-Independent Anti-Fibrotic Effects by the Selective Nonsteroidal Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonist Finerenone in Progressive Models of Kidney Fibrosis

posted on 30.08.2021, 06:24 by Droebner K., Pavkovic M., Grundmann M., Hartmann E., Goea L., Nordlohne J., Klar J., Eitner F., Kolkhof P.
Introduction: The nonsteroidal mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist finerenone and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have demonstrated clinical benefits in chronic kidney disease patients with type 2 diabetes. Precise molecular mechanisms responsible for these benefits are incompletely understood. Here, we investigated potential direct anti-fibrotic effects and mechanisms of nonsteroidal MR antagonism by finerenone or SGLT2 inhibition by empagliflozin in 2 relevant mouse kidney fibrosis models: unilateral ureter obstruction and sub-chronic ischemia reperfusion injury. Methods: Kidney fibrosis was induced in mice via unilateral ureteral obstruction or ischemia. In a series of experiments, mice were treated orally with the MR antagonist finerenone (3 or 10 mg/kg), the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin (10 or 30 mg/kg), or in a direct comparison of both drugs. Interstitial myofibroblast accumulation was quantified via alpha-smooth muscle actin and interstitial collagen deposition via Sirius Red/Fast Green staining in both models. Secondary analyses included the assessment of inflammatory cells, kidney mRNA expression of fibrotic markers as well as functional parameters (serum creatinine and albuminuria) in the ischemic model. Blood pressure was measured via telemetry in healthy conscious compound-treated animals. Results: Finerenone dose-dependently decreased pathological myofibroblast accumulation and collagen deposition with no effects on systemic blood pressure and inflammatory markers in the tested dose range. Reduced kidney fibrosis was paralleled by reduced kidney plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and naked cuticle 2 (NKD2) expression in finerenone-treated mice. In contrast, treatment with empagliflozin strongly increased urinary glucose excretion in both models and reduced ischemia-induced albuminuria but had no effects on kidney myofibroblasts or collagen deposition. Discussion/Conclusion: Finerenone has direct anti-fibrotic properties resulting in reduced myofibroblast and collagen deposition accompanied by a reduction in renal PAI-1 and NKD2 expression in mouse models of progressive kidney fibrosis at blood pressure-independent dosages.