The PDE5 inhibitor, vardenafil, ameliorates progressive pathological changes in a focal segmental glomerulosclerosis mouse model

Su-Wei Hu, Yuan-Hung Wang, Jhy-Shrian Huang, Yea-Mey Yang, Chia-Chang Wu, Chao-Wen Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5is) inhibit the hydrolysis of cyclic guanosine 5'-monophosphate in smooth muscle cells and are a widely known treatment for erectile dysfunction. Accumulating evidence also suggests that PDE5is exhibit potential benefits in cardiovascular and chronic kidney diseases. In this study, we examined the therapeutic effects of a PDE5i, vardenafil (VAR), in a focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) mouse model.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: FSGS was induced in BALB/c mice by the intravenous administration of Adriamycin (AD, 11 mg/kg of body weight). After 24 h, VAR (at 12.5 μg/ml) was given in drinking water ad libitum until the animals were sacrificed. At the end of the experiment, plasma and kidney samples were harvested to evaluate clinical parameters, histopathological changes, and alterations in transcriptome and protein expressions.

KEY FINDINGS: In this study, VAR treatment attenuated the deterioration of proteinuria, renal dysfunction, and hypercholesterolemia in AD-induced FSGS. Treatment with VAR exhibited reductions in the severity of both glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial injury in the histological analysis. In addition to relieving AD-induced podocyte loss, VAR also preserved endothelial cells in glomerular capillaries and ameliorated the accumulation of collagen fibers in the mesangial area and Bowman's capsule basement membrane. In addition, VAR showed an ability to suppress transforming growth factor-β-induced fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transdifferentiation.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our data suggest that VAR exhibited reno-therapeutic effects via attenuating podocyte loss, preserving the integrity of the glomerular vasculature, and ameliorating fibrotic changes. These findings suggest that PDE5is might be a promising treatment modality for nephrotic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120992
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2022


  • Mice
  • Male
  • Animals
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental/metabolism
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors/pharmacology
  • Vardenafil Dihydrochloride/pharmacology
  • Endothelial Cells/metabolism
  • Drinking Water/metabolism
  • Guanosine Monophosphate/metabolism
  • Podocytes/metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Doxorubicin/therapeutic use
  • Transforming Growth Factors/metabolism
  • Collagen/metabolism


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