Effect of dimethyl fumarate on renal disease progression in a genetic ortholog of nephronophthisis

Oliver Oey, Padmashree Rao, Magdalena Luciuk, Carly Mannix, Natasha Rogers, Priyanka Sagar, Annette Wong, Gopala Rangan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Dimethyl fumarate is an FDA-approved oral immunomodulatory drug with anti-inflammatory properties that induces the upregulation of the anti-oxidant transcription factor, nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of dimethyl fumarate on interstitial inflammation and renal cyst growth in a preclinical model of nephronophthisis. Four-week-old female Lewis polycystic kidney disease (a genetic ortholog of human nephronophthisis-9) rats received vehicle (V), 10 mg/kg (D10) or 30 mg/kg (D30) (n = 8–9 each) dimethyl fumarate in drinking water for eight weeks. Age-matched Lewis control rats were also studied (n = 4 each). Nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2 was quantified by whole-slide image analysis of kidney sections. Renal nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2 activation was partially reduced in vehicle-treated Lewis polycystic kidney disease rats compared to Lewis control (21.4 ± 1.7 vs. 27.0 ± 1.6%, mean ± SD; P < 0.01). Dimethyl fumarate upregulated nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2 in both Lewis Polycystic Kidney Disease (D10: 35.9 ± 3.8; D30: 33.6 ± 3.4%) and Lewis rats (D30: 34.4 ± 1.3%) compared to vehicle-treated rats (P < 0.05). Dimethyl fumarate significantly reduced CD68+ cell accumulation in Lewis polycystic kidney disease rats (V: 31.7 ± 2.4; D10: 23.0 ± 1.1; D30: 21.5 ± 1.9; P < 0.05). In Lewis polycystic kidney disease rats, dimethyl fumarate did not alter the progression of kidney enlargement (V: 6.4 ± 1.6; D10: 6.9 ± 1.2; D30: 7.3 ± 1.3%) and the percentage cystic index (V: 59.1 ± 2.7; D10: 55.7 ± 3.5; D30: 58.4 ± 2.9%). Renal dysfunction, as determined by the serum creatinine (Lewis + V: 26 ± 4 vs. LPK + V: 60 ± 25 P < 0.01; LPK + D10: 47 ± 7; LPK + D30: 47 ± 9 µmol/L), and proteinuria were also unaffected by dimethyl fumarate treatment. In conclusion, the upregulation of nuclear factor erythroid-derived factor 2 by dimethyl fumarate reduced renal macrophage infiltration in nephronophthisis without adverse effects, suggesting that it could potentially be used in combination with other therapies that reduce the rate of renal cyst growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-436
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of dimethyl fumarate on renal disease progression in a genetic ortholog of nephronophthisis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this