Renal concentration of α-tocopherol: Dependence on gender and lack of effect on polycystic kidney disease in Han:SPRD rats

Vicente E. Torres, Rosemary J. Bengal, Kim K. Nickander, Joseph P. Grande, Philip A. Low

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16 Scopus citations


A gender-associated dimorphism, with males being more severely affected than females, has bean observed in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, acquired renal cystic disease, and the renal cystic disease of the Han:SPRD rat. A recent study has suggested that gonadal hormones may be responsible for this dimorphism. Because gonadal hormones have an effect on the concentration of α-tocopherol in the liver and adrenal glands and because recent studies indicate that oxidative stress may be important in the pathogenesis of polycystic kidney disease, we wanted to determine whether the renal concentration of α-tocopherol is higher in female than in male rats and whether this difference accounts for the gender dimorphism of polycystic kidney disease in Han:SPRD rats. At 3 weeks of age, male and female heterozygous cystic (cy/+) rats were divided into three groups fed a vitamin E-deficient diet or the same diet supplemented with either 65 IU or 10,000 IU α-tocopherol/kg laboratory chow. At 8 weeks of age, blood samples and kidneys were obtained for determinations of plasma creatinine and urea, renal concentration of α-tocopherol and glutathione, kidney weights, and histomorphometric analysis. Female rats had higher renal concentrations of α-tocopherol and less severe renal cystic disease, as reflected by plasma creatinine and urea values, kidney weight corrected by body weight, and histomorphometric analysis, then male rate. The difference in renal α- tocopherol concentration, however, could not account for the different severity of the renal cystic disease, because depletion or enrichment of vitamin E in the diet had marked effects on the renal concentration of α- tocopherol without affecting the severity of the renal cystic disease. Cy/+ rats had higher renal concentrations of α-tocopherol than +/+ animals, possibly reflecting a disturbance of redox metabolism associated with polycystic kidney disease. Renal concentrations of glutathione were unaffected by the vitamin E content of the diet. Although these results do not support the use of vitamin E in the treatment of polycystic kidney disease, observations in the Han:SPRD rat may or may not be relevant to human polycystic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-693
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998



  • Gender
  • Han:SPRD rat
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • α-Tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

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