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Background: Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) is marked by cyst formation in the renal tubules, primarily in the collecting duct (CD) system, ultimately leading to end-stage renal disease. Patients with PKD are generally advised to restrict their dietary sodium intake. This study was aimed at testing the outcomes of dietary salt manipulation in ARPKD.
Methods: PCK/CrljCrlPkhd1pck/CRL (PCK) rats, a model of ARPKD, were fed a normal (0.4% NaCl; NS), high salt (4% NaCl; HS), and sodium-deficient (0.01% NaCl; SD) diets for 8 weeks. Immunohistochemistry, GFR measurements, balance studies, and molecular biology approaches were applied to evaluate the outcomes of the protocol. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) levels were assessed using LC-MS/MS, and renal miRNA profile was studied.
Findings: Both HS and SD diets resulted in an increase in cystogenesis. However, SD diet caused extensive growth of cysts in the renal cortical area, and hypertrophy of the tissue; RAAS components were enhanced in the SD group. We observed a reduction in epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) expression in the SD group, accompanied with mRNA level increase. miRNA assay revealed that renal miR-9a-5p level was augmented in the SD group; we showed that this miRNA decreases ENaC channel number in CD cells.
Interpretation: Our data demonstrate a mechanism of ARPKD progression during salt restriction that involves activity of ENaC. We further show that miR-9a-5p potentially implicated in this mechanism and that miR-9a-5p downregulates ENaC in cultured CD cells. Our findings open new therapeutic possibilities and highlight the importance of understanding salt reabsorption in ARPKD.