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Simvastatin suppresses ethanol effects on the kidney of adolescent mice

Makgotso Nchodu1, Robin du Preez1, Alice Efuntayo1, Oladiran Ibukunolu Olateju1


Introduction. Adolescents tend to experiment with ethanol which often results in heavy episodic drinking patterns leading to serious health concerns later in life. Chronic ethanol use damages renal tissue, promotes collagen deposition, and induces renal inflammation, thereby causing renal dysfunction. Therefore, an intervention such as simvastatin (a blood cholesterol-lowering drug) that could suppress the effects of ethanol on the kidney may be beneficial. This study explored the impact of simvastatin against the onset of renal morphological damage, fibrosis, and inflammation caused by ethanol exposure in mice.

Materials and methods. Ten four–week old C57BL/6J mice (F = 5; M = 5) were assigned to each experimental group: (I) NT; no administration of ethanol or simvastatin; (II) EtOH; 2.5 g/kg/day of 20% ethanol; intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) (III) SIM; 5 mg/kg/day of simvastatin; orally (iv) EtOH + SIM5; 5 mg/kg/day of simvastatin, orally, followed by 2.5 g/kg/day of 20% ethanol;  i.p. and (v) EtOH + SIM15; 15 mg/kg/day simvastatin, orally, followed by 2.5 g/kg/day of 20% ethanol;  i.p. After the 28–day treatment period, the right kidney was removed and processed for haematoxylin and eosin staining, Masson’s trichrome staining, or Tumour necrosis factor–alpha (TNF–α) immunohistochemistry. The renal corpuscular area, glomerular area, and urinary space area were measured and the area of collagen or TNF–α expression was quantified using ImageJ software.

Results. Ethanol administration significantly increased the renal corpuscular area, the glomerular area, the area of collagen, and the area of tissue with TNF–α immunoreactivity but decreased the area of urinary space. Simvastatin generally suppressed the ethanol effects in both sexes, although to varying degrees. 

Conclusions. Simvastatin proved to suppress collagen deposition and the TNF–α production induced by ethanol in the kidney of mice thus indicating its effectiveness in the treatment of ethanol-related renal diseases.

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